The Wisconsin Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Doe v. Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) Tuesday. This is a critical parental rights case in which parents are rightfully challenging an absurd school policy that allows the school to majorly overstep its boundaries.
The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) and Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) brought the case to the Dane County Circuit Court in 2020 after MMSD implemented policies allowing students to use a different gender identity at school by changing their name and pronouns without consent from their parents. The district even instructed employees to hide the information from parents.
WILL argues that it is the right of parents to make healthcare decisions for their children, and gender confusion can significantly impact a child’s mental health. “Transitioning to a different gender identity is a significant psychotherapeutic intervention that requires parental notice or consent,” said WILL. MMSD is clearly violating parental rights by attempting to make this decision for them.
Dane County Circuit Court Judge Frank Remington issued a partial injunction in 2020 that prevents the school district from “applying or enforcing any policy, guideline, or practice” that “allows or requires District staff to conceal information or to answer untruthfully in response to any question that parents ask about their child at school, including information about the name and pronouns being used to address their child at school.”
This injunction is not enough, however. It still permits minors to “transition” at school without requiring schools to notify parents or ask for their consent. The parents challenging this rule also requested to remain anonymous, but Judge Remington partially denied this request.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court is now deliberating on the case and will determine whether the parents can proceed anonymously and whether the partial injunction goes far enough.
During oral arguments this past Tuesday (May 24), one of the attorneys for the school district struggled to admit parents have inherent rights regarding their children, saying that parents basically don’t have rights when it comes to the issue of their child’s gender identity at school.
When discussing the need for anonymity for the parents, WILL attorney Luke Berg asserted that disclosing the names could result in bullying and even harm to the parents and their children. Attorneys for the district refuted that idea and asked that the names be released to all the attorneys and everyone in their 3 large law firms, contending that these individuals (amounting at least 1000 attorneys alone) would not leak the names. Justice Rebecca G. Bradley spoke up and said essentially that she disputed the district’s assertion, noting that one of the groups that had filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case in support of the parents had their office firebombed after the leaked US Supreme Court draft opinion. Obviously, Justice Bradley was referring to us. (I was in the court room for the oral arguments.)
This case has huge ramifications not just here in Wisconsin but nationwide since it’s the first case in the country dealing with this issue. It could either help enshrine parental rights or severely compromise them.
For the sake of children’s well-being, parents need to be their primary decision makers, especially when it comes to questions of healthcare. Reaffirming a child’s delusion can pose significant negative consequences to their psychological development. They need the protection of their parents.
Chief Justice Annette Ziegler indicated the court would issue a decision promptly, which means we should certainly have the court’s final decision no later than June or July. In the meantime, please pray that the court rules justly and upholds parental rights.
The Wisconsin Senate Committee on Education just heard a bill that would implement vital protections for parental rights.
SB 962 establishes several parental and guardian rights relating to a child’s religion, medical care, and education, and states that parents may sue the government for violating any of these rights. The bill also appropriately states that parents’ inalienable rights include more than just the ones listed.
“The bill prohibits the state from infringing on the fundamental right of parents to direct the upbringing, education, health care, and mental health of their children without demonstrating that the infringement is required by a compelling governmental interest of the highest order as applied to the child, is narrowly tailored, and is not otherwise served by a less restrictive means,” reads the bill.
WFA President Julaine Appling testified in front of the committee in support of SB 962.
She noted that a parents’ bill of rights is crucial because “Children belong to parents. It is the responsibility of parents, not anyone else, to rear their children, to make important decisions for them, to care for them, to know anything and everything that concerns them.”
While a parents’ bill of rights should not be necessary, it unfortunately is. Parental rights have been under attack in our state and around the country for the last several years. Time and time again, the state has abused its power and infringed upon each of the 15 rights listed in this bill.
Julaine told the committee that our Declaration of Independence acknowledges God as the source of our “inalienable rights.” Because our rights come from Him, and not the state, government cannot infringe upon or transfer them.
She went on to note that our Declaration and Constitution don’t spell out parents’ rights because at the time of their signings, parental rights were considered “self evident.” However, times have changed and the state’s consistent infringements upon parental rights demonstrate the need to codify specific rights with Senate Bill 962.
Countless horror stories have emerged today about how schools have withheld critically important information from parents about their child. Some schools even instruct their staff to lie to parents in some instances.
Explicitly naming parents’ rights and making the state’s limitations abundantly clear are necessary for this reason and many more. “Furthermore, clarifying the legal standard by which to assess whether parents’ rights have been abrogated and creating a cause of action for parents is imperative. This is prudential law. No parent should be left defenseless when government tries to strip them of their right to decide what is best for their child,” continued Julaine.
The bill has already passed in the Assembly. Once it passes in the Senate, which will likely be next week, the proposal will go to the governor for signing. Please use this link to find your state senator and urge him/her to support SB 962. In order for faith, family, and freedom to thrive in Wisconsin, parental rights must be protected.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court is set to hear a case involving parental rights and challenging the gender identity policy in Madison schools. Our good friends at Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) and our excellent national partner Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) filed a lawsuit on behalf of a group of parents challenging the Madison Metropolitan School District’s (MMSD) published policy that basically says parents aren’t to know what their child is doing at school when it comes to gender identity. The policy goes so far as to indicate school personnel should lie to parents if necessary. This is simply outrageous.
The state’s high court will review the partial injunction the circuit court put on the implementation of the policy and will determine the degree to which the parents can remain anonymous. As you can imagine, anonymity is critical in a case of this nature.
Meanwhile, WILL and ADF also has sued the Kettle Moraine School District (KMSD) for a very similar reason. KMSD’s gender identity policy allows children to “change” their gender identity at school without parental consent. The policy also prohibits district employees from notifying parents of their child’s transition and even instructs staff to override a parent’s objection. In this case, at least one parent called and asked the school to call a daughter by her given feminine name and to use only feminine pronouns. The school refused. Amazing. By the way, this case started with this parent calling us and asking what she could do. We immediately put her in touch with WILL.
In the Madison School District case, a Dane County Circuit Court Judge issued a partial injunction that prohibits the district from requiring staff to hide information from parents or answer untruthfully to their questions. However, the injunction still allows minors to change their gender identity at school without parental consent. Now, the Wisconsin Supreme Court will soon hear this case and determine whether the judge’s injunction goes far enough and to what degree the parents bringing the lawsuit can remain anonymous.
Both MMSD and KMSD (and we are sure many, many other WI school districts) are encouraging educators—who know their students much less than those students’ parents do—
to push children to make a life-altering decision without the input of those who care for them most. The district is even disregarding medical professionals who warn of the long-term effects associated with transitioning at a young age. It’s clear that the district is prioritizing ideology over parental rights and children’s well-being.
“Parents’ rights to direct the upbringing, education, and mental health treatment of their children is one of the most basic constitutional rights every parent holds dear. Yet we are seeing more and more school districts across the country not only ignoring parents’ concerns, but actively working against them,” said director of the ADF Center for Parental Rights Kate Anderson.
She is absolutely right. The Constitution protects parents’ rights, especially with something as serious as a child’s gender identity, and we must demand that schools respect that right.
Parents are not only the primary stakeholders in their children’s education, they must be the primary decision makers for their children. Not only is it their right, but only they know what is best for their children. Schools across the country, however, are intent on sidestepping parents and “raising” children themselves. This means students are being indoctrinated with dangerous progressive ideology and encouraged to act in accordance with it.
We cannot afford to let our school districts get away with these harmful policies and power grabs. The development and well-being of our children is at stake. As we now know, administrators are willing to partake in deception and manipulation to control our children.
What Parents Should Do (and all concerned citizens!)
- Have age-appropriate conversations with their children about the boundaries their school educators and administrators should abide by and encourage them to speak up in the face of indoctrination. Be a safe place for their children; encourage them to talk to the parents about what is happening at school.
- Engage in the upcoming spring elections. Every school district in the state will have races on the ballot. Sample ballots and other election information should be available in the next week at wi.gov. At a minimum, find out who the conservative candidates are and be sure to vote for them—and encourage others to do the same.
- Explore Wisconsin’s multiple educational options for parents. https://dpi.wi.gov/families-students/programs-initiatives/school-choice. Application window opens in February for several of these options.
- Please pray that these cases (MMSD & KMSD) are decided justly, and that further legislation is introduced to protect parental rights.
Together, we can save our children. Thank you for partnering with us in this worthy endeavor!