Stories of school districts violating parents’ rights with transgender policies continue to emerge, and WFA is helping to fight back.
The Linn-Mar Community School District, located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, implemented a policy earlier this year barring the district from informing parents of a student’s transgender status unless the student provides authorization. Under the policy, students can also decide whether or not their parents attend meetings with a school counselor to receive support and implement a “Gender Support Plan.”
The Eighth Circuit Court will hear oral arguments for this case in February 2023. To defend parental rights, WFA has signed onto a friend-of-the-court brief, along with the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), the Baptist Convention of Iowa (BCI), and other organizations to defend parental rights.
The brief says that the Parental Preclusion Policy “permits students and schools to determine the name and pronouns that a student will use at school, to decide the gender of those that the child will sleep with on school trips, to select which restroom and locker room to use at school, and to determine which gender sports teams to join, all without parental notification or consent.”
By hiding pertinent information about students, the school district violates parents’ right to “direct the care and education of their children,” and violates their due process protections.
The U.S. Constitution “protects parental interests as fundamental,” reads the brief. “This policy’s underlying rationales – that parents do not act in their children’s best interest and schools may trump parental authority when they suspect they might disagree with parental decisions – provide no permissible justification whatsoever.”
“It is parents who are given the primary right to care for their child, not school counselors, teachers, or principals. [F]undamental parental rights, like other fundamental rights, may only be curtailed or withheld after notice and due process,” the brief continues.
The Linn-Mar Community School District is clearly prioritizing a radical ideology over parents’ fundamental rights, and WFA is proud to take a stand for parents and children’s safety.
In another recent case, former school counselor at Allen-Field Elementary School in the Milwaukee Public School District (MPS) Marissa Darlingh was fired for exercising her First Amendment right to free speech. At a feminist rally, Darlingh expressed her concern about the dangers associated with “gender identity ideology,” especially for children.
Darlingh has filed a lawsuit against the school district in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, and she is being represented by the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty.
“The District has blatantly violated Ms. Darlingh’s First Amendment rights. Firing her for expressing her views on such an important subject is not only inexcusable, but unconstitutional,” said WILL Deputy Counsel, Luke Berg.
The lawsuit alleges that the district violated Darlingh’s First Amendment and Due Process rights, as the termination letter cited her speech at the feminist rally as the reason for her termination. That speech was given on her own personal time outside of campus. The lawsuit seeks reinstatement to her position at the school, back-pay, and removal of the no-trespass order against her. We are hopeful that this case will affirm the First Amendment rights of all teachers.
Schools are now pushing radical gender ideology on students, hiding information about students’ gender identity from parents, and punishing those who disagree with their ideology. While the success of these lawsuits will help, we need parents and teachers to stand up and assert their rights. Parents have every right to know exactly what is going on in the classroom, and teachers have every right to condemn a radical ideology that is harming children.
Please pray for the success of these lawsuits and an end to radical indoctrination in the classrooms of government schools.
The left is on a mission to immerse young children in inappropriate sexual material and radical gender ideology. Unfortunately, if a child is in public school, the chances of him or him being subject to this indoctrination are alarmingly high. Countless stories of schools encouraging students to take a false sense of control over their gender and transition socially without parental consent continue to emerge.
One father named Wendell Perez received a harrowing phone call from the Florida elementary school that his daughter attends thanks to the radical gender ideology that the school promotes. School officials informed Perez that his 12-year-old daughter had attempted to commit suicide in the girls’ bathroom. The reasoning she gave was that was in distress because she wanted to be a boy, with a male name and pronouns.
Wendell was in disbelief. He had never seen any signs of gender dysphoria or discomfort in his daughter. Further, the family is Catholic, and they intentionally instilled their children with a biblical worldview and scientific understanding of gender.
However, when Wendell and his wife rushed to the school, they discovered that school officials had been having secret meetings with their daughter and discussing her confusion about her gender.
Teachers had even begun treating their daughter as a boy without their knowledge or consent. Staff told Wendell that he was not informed of these meetings due to “confidentiality issues.”
This is just one of dozens of stories in which teachers are secretly addressing students by opposite-sex pronouns, promoting an ideology that leaves children in severe distress and often leads them to pursue harmful gender “transition” procedures.
No parent should ever have to receive the traumatic phone call that Wendell did. For the sake of children’s safety, all parents should know exactly what their child is learning and what personal information teachers are discussing with their child.
Thankfully, Wendell is now suing his daughter’s school district in Florida for undermining his and his wife’s right to direct their daughter’s upbringing.
Although this father’s battle is happening in Florida, Wisconsin families are fighting these same issues in at least three school districts. The Eau Claire, Kettle Moraine, and Madison districts have each been caught violating parental rights in the name of radical gender ideology during the past year. (Read HERE for more on those specific cases.)
Like Wendell, many parents are frustrated with their lack of input and knowledge about what their children are learning at school. A recent Fox News poll revealed that 70% of parents said that they did not have enough say in what their children learned in school.
Further, when asked about “overly accommodating transgender policies” for transgender students, 60% of parents said that these policies were a problem.
This is excellent news, especially in light of the fact that the midterm elections are right around the corner. Parents are waking up, and hopefully they will take their frustration to the polls.
Beyond voting for candidates that will protect their rights, parents must also educate themselves and become active in their local schools. They should demand transparency and regular parental review of classroom materials. Lastly, parents should know their rights and their options. If a school refuses to respect their basic values, parents should consider alternatives.
Parental rights are indispensable for a thriving society, as parents are best equipped to guide and protect their children. The left has waged a war on these rights, but we are reaching a turning point as parents begin to recognize the abuse that is happening to their children.
We have an opportunity to reclaim parental rights on November 8th – let’s not waste it. Don’t forget to educate yourself about the candidates by visiting Wisconsin Family Action’s voter guide. Be sure to spread the word to your friends and family and vote for leaders who understand that children belong to parents alone.
California Democrats have just passed a radical bill that poses serious threats to parental rights and children’s safety around the country.
S.B. 107 allows California courts to remove custody from parents who are opposed to their young children undergoing irreversible medical procedures, according to the National Review.
Any child can “flee” to California for this purpose, or any person “acting as a parent” can take a child to California to obtain this abusive “treatment.”
S.B. 107 just passed both chambers of the state legislature and is now in the hands of the Gov. Gavin Newsom.
If Gov. Newsom signs S.B. 107, California courts will be given “temporary emergency jurisdiction” over any child in California, regardless of which state they reside in, allowing them to receive harmful interventions without parental consent. This attempt at severe government overreach violates federal law regarding jurisdiction over custody matters and the laws of the 49 other states which need to be respected according to the “full faith and credit” clause of the U.S. Constitution.
This bill is extreme—even for California. And it has implications for every state. SB 107 would allow Wisconsin children to be essentially “kidnapped” by the state of California so that these minors can undergo bodily mutilation and sterilization before they’re old enough to understand the consequences of these actions. Further, any parent who opposes the lies being fed to their child will be met by forceful opposition made up by courts, police, and child-protective services.
Not only are legislators ignoring the basic rights of parents, but they are disregarding the clear evidence demonstrating the damage caused by gender “affirming” medical and surgical interventions on children.
The American College of Pediatricians’ found that 80 to 95 percent of children who suffer from gender dysphoria will eventually re-identify with their biological sex, if they are not pushed into trying to do the impossible—change their sex.. Further, according to a recent study by the Heritage Foundation, increased access to gender “affirming” care doesn’t improve mental health outcomes. It only increases a child’s risk for suicide.
Ultimately, gender “transition” surgeries mutilate healthy bodies, affirm dangerous lies, and lead to psychological derangement. It is undeniably abusive to allow vulnerable children to permanently damage their bodies.
We need to keep California from getting its hands on our children and blatantly undermining parents. Bringing national attention to this bill and highlighting its danger will give us a chance to persuade Gov. Newsom to veto the bill. Let’s urge our state officials to do just that and call California out for its extremism and child abuse. This is a great question to ask candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, and even those running for state senate or state assembly seats:
“Will you actively work to protect Wisconsin’s parents and children from the long-arm of liberal elected officials in California—or any other state seeking to lure minor children, take them into “protective custody” for purposes of prescribing harmful drugs and/or performing dangerous surgeries in an effort to do the impossible, change their sex?”
No parent should ever face the unimaginable anger caused by the mutilation and abuse of their children, like many already have. Parents alone have the right to make medical decisions for their children, and it is far beyond the boundaries of California courts to take those deeply personal decisions into their own hands. Children belong to their parents, not the government.
Please pray that this bill is defeated along with the evil ideas behind it.
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!