WILL fights back against the DOE’s Title IX proposal, offers model policies that provide hope

WILL fights back against the DOE’s Title IX proposal, offers model policies that provide hope

President Joe Biden’s Department of Education is attempting to radically re-define “sex” in Title IX to expand the law’s protections to “transgender” individuals. Thankfully, many voices are putting up a fight. 

Under Title IX, schools cannot receive federal funding if they discriminate against any student on the basis of sex. According to a press release, the DOE wants to amend Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments so that “sex” includes “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” 

As a result, any space, program, building, bathroom, locker room, or sports team that is separated by sex would be forced to accommodate biological men who believe they are, or “identify” as, women. Schools that rightfully refuse to allow biological males into women’s bathrooms could lose their federal funding.

However, there is hope. The proposed changes have not yet taken effect, and parents, the attorneys general of several states, and organizations like Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) are working to ensure that they never do. 

The DOE received over 184,000 public comments from parents concerned about their children’s safety and the erasure of women. This is a record number of parents and other concerned citizens taking a stand for the rights of their families. It shows that parents are paying attention and are willing to take action to protect their children, which is excellent news ahead of a crucial election. 

Similarly, WILL submitted a comment to the Department of Education detailing three significant concerns about the proposed changes.  

“First, the reinterpretation of the definition of sex within Title IX is an illegal action by an executive agency because the proposed regulations are antithetical to the intent of the law – namely, to protect and support women and girls. Second, the proposed regulations will have a chilling effect on speech, including speech motivated by sincere religious beliefs, and academic freedom. Third, the proposed regulations undermine parental rights. WILL has requested that the Department respond to each of these concerns and reject the proposed rules,” reads WILL’s comment. 

Wisconsin Family Action president Julaine Appling also submitted a comment on behalf of the organization. Our comments were along the same line as WILL’s.

WILL also has model policies available to school districts, including a model policy on student pronouns that the Education Department should take a note from. “Parents have the right to determine the names and pronouns that staff use to refer to their children while at school. Staff shall not refer to or address minor students by a different name or pronouns that differ from their biological sex, during school hours, without written authorization from a parent,” begins the model policy on student pronouns. 

Another model policy establishes parents’ right to review instructional materials and related documents: “Parents shall have the right to access, upon request, the instructional materials used in the education of their children. In this policy, “instructional materials” means instructional content that is provided to a student, regardless of its format, including printed or representational materials, audio-visual materials, and materials in electronic or digital formats.”

We need leaders on school boards and legislators who will enact policies like these to protect children and parents’ rights—not undermine them. We have an opportunity to do just that this fall; let’s not waste it!

In the meantime, please pray that the efforts to block the DOE’s radical proposal are effective. Women’s rights, parental rights, free speech, religious liberty, and academic freedom are on the line; but we should remain hopeful because of the many voices that are fighting back and offering a better way forward. 




 

Three Wisconsin school districts under fire for violating parents’ rights

Three Wisconsin school districts under fire for violating parents’ rights

Wisconsin schools have been undermining parents’ rights in an attempt to indoctrinate students with radical LGBTQ+ ideology. Thankfully, three similar lawsuits against Wisconsin school districts have emerged in recent months. 

Most recently, the Eau Claire Area School District (ECASD) was sued for hosting gender identity trainings that instruct teachers and school staff to hide students’ gender transitions from parents.

America First Legal (AFL) and the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) filed the lawsuit on behalf of several parents, arguing that the district’s policies violate their freedom of religion and parental rights. 

AFL released a questionnaire used in the district’s training, revealing some of the concerning instructions given to staff. One slide used in the training states that “parents are not entitled to know their kids’ identities. That knowledge must be earned.” Teachers are told to prioritize the desires of the student over the rights of the parent. 

During another training for the district’s teachers, the host, Christopher Jorgenson, told staff,We understand and acknowledge that teachers are often put in terrible positions caught between parents and their students. But much like we wouldn’t act as stand-ins for abuse in other circumstances, we cannot let parents’ rejection of their children guide teachers’ reactions and actions and advocacy for our students.” 

Eau Claire’s policies clearly violate parents’ right to raise their children. Teachers do not replace parents at school. A child’s “gender identity” is pertinent and important information that must always be discussed with parents. 

​​“Policies like Eau Claire’s blatantly violate parents’ constitutional rights to raise their children. School staff do not replace parents while their children are at school. A gender identity transition is a major event in a child’s life; schools must defer to parents about this,” WILL Deputy Counsel Luke Berg said in a statement.

Further, AFL President Stephen Miller has accused the district of using children to advance a dangerous progressive agenda. “Eau Claire schools have adopted a monstrous plan to secretly ‘change’ the genders of children as young as 5—without parental consent—effectively subjecting them to unnatural ideological experiments contrary to their health and biology,” he said. “This includes forcing boys and girls to share bathrooms and other private spaces without their consent, a further invasion and desecration of childhood innocence and fundamental childhood wellbeing.”

Similarly, in November of last year, a group of Wisconsin parents sued the Kettle Moraine School District (KMSD) for a policy that allows minor students to “transition genders” at school, even despite the parents’ objection. Like Eau Claire, the Kettle Moraine School District is violating parents’ constitutional rights by taking a life-altering decision out of parents’ hands. 

In June, the judge denied the school district’s request to dismiss the case. A hearing on the case is scheduled for April 19, 2023.

In a third case, the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) filed a lawsuit in 2020 in Dane County Circuit Court against the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) for its policies that allow children to change their gender identity at school without parental notice or consent. The policy also instructs district staff to hide information about students’ gender identity from parents.

In May, the Wisconsin Supreme Court heard the case, and in July, the Court ordered that the case go back to circuit court after some of the technicalities were decided. As a result, the case is back in Dane County Circuit Court where it will essentially start over. 

Hopefully, these lawsuits will help parents take back their rights and protect their children. Children are safer and better off when parents are in control, and parents have the natural, God-given right to be the primary decision-makers in their children’s lives. 

Defending God’s Design in our Schools

Schools across the country seem to be hyper-focused on race and sexuality. Most recently, a Rhode Island private school told its students not to send Valentine’s Day cards that showed only white people or perpetuated gender “stereotypes.” 

Parents received guidelines from Moses Brown Lower School stating, “Please coach your child if purchasing commercially produced cards to select something that does not feel ‘gender normative’ (with separate ‘boy cards’ vs. ‘girl cards,’ for instance.) Also, consider talking to your child about avoiding cards that portray only White human characters.”

Parents have understandably expressed their frustration with these guidelines and with the school’s culture as a whole. “Why does my four year old tell me the teacher said that someday she might want to marry another girl?” said one parent. Moses Brown often promotes progressive ideology about transgenderism and sexual identity. The school even hosts a Gender Sexuality Alliance club.

Stories like this one are becoming extremely common around the country, and even in Wisconsin. Children are inundated with harmful lies about race and gender. They are taught to view one another based on these immutable characteristics, rather than as individual children lovingly created by God. Many public schools, and sadly even some private schools, cannot be trusted to educate our children and act in their best interest. 

This is why Wisconsin Family Action is working to pass vital legislation and combat the evil ideas that children are learning in school. 

We are actively working to support the “Help Not Harm Act,” which is essential for children who are suffering from gender dysphoria in Wisconsin. The bill protects children who are confused about their biological sex by protecting them from harmful drugs and mutilation surgeries, which the left affirm are part of “tolerance.” This couldn’t be further from the truth. 

What these children need is the exact opposite of what their schools are teaching them. They need the truth about God’s design, not affirmation of the lies they believe about themselves. 

Schools here in Wisconsin are not only feeding children harmful lies about their sexuality, but are  even hiding information from parents. 

The Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) published a policy stating that children are allowed to “transition” to a different gender at school and teachers are prohibited from telling parents. It even indicates that school staff should lie to parents about how their children are presenting in school. 

Similarly, Kettle Moraine School District’s gender identity policy allows children to “change” their gender identity at school without parental consent. Again, employees are prohibited from sharing this important information with parents and even instructed to override parents’ objections. 

Thankfully, our good friends at Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty and the Alliance Defending Freedom filed lawsuits challenging both of these policies, and they are now before the Wisconsin Supreme Court.  

Just this week, we testified in support of the newly introduced “Parents’ Bill of Rights,” Assembly Bill 963, a bill that lays out 15 specific parents’ rights when it comes to their children. Several of these rights are specific to education and schools. One says parents have “[t]he right to determine the names and pronouns used for the child while at school.” A number of parents spoke at the hearing as well, supporting the bill and noting that too often their voice and their rights are either ignored or infringed.

Please pray for the success of the “Help Not Harm Act,” the “Parents’ Bill of Rights,” and favorable outcomes in these two Supreme Court cases. 

Parental rights and the well-being of our children are under attack. We must be diligent in overseeing our children’s education and demand and be part of necessary change when our schools espouse dangerous ideas. Few things are more important than the education of the next generation, and it’s up to us to hold our school officials accountable. 

Of course, the very best situation for children is to be brought up in the homes of their married biological or adopted fathers and mothers. Marriage is good for kids! So, as we near the end of National Marriage Week, it’s important we promote marriage and family as God designed it, as well asGod’s design for human sexuality and raise our children to believe and know that they were created in His image.