Wisconsin Family Action files amicus brief in case for parental rights and free speech 

Wisconsin Family Action files amicus brief in case for parental rights and free speech 

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.

Schools are pushing dangerous gender ideology, but parents are waking up

Schools are pushing dangerous gender ideology, but parents are waking up

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.

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. 

California bill endangers parental rights – even in Wisconsin

California bill endangers parental rights – even in Wisconsin

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.

Federal court ruling on transgenderism has concerning implications 

Federal court ruling on transgenderism has concerning implications 

In a deeply concerning decision, a federal judge ruled that the distress someone may feel due to gender dysphoria is to be considered a disability that must be accommodated under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). 

Williams v. Kincaid involved an imprisoned male who identifies as a female in Fairfax County, Virginia. The man wanted to be housed with the female inmates, but the prison’s policy states that “male inmates shall be classified as such if they have male genitals,” and “female inmates shall be classified as such if they have female genitals.”

The ADA itself explicitly excludes:

“(a) Homosexuality and bisexuality

For purposes of the definition of “disability” in section 12102(2)?[1] of this title, homosexuality and bisexuality are not impairments and as such are not disabilities under this chapter.”

Therefore, the court was tasked with overcoming a major hurdle to reach their illogical conclusion. Still, the majority opinion argued that gender dysphoria was not actually a gender identity disorder. “A close parallel to their logic would be that trucks are not sedans, and therefore a ‘no cars allowed’ sign does not apply to them,” writes Joshua Arnold of the Daily Signal. This case is an excellent example of why interpretation of the law based on the original meaning of the words is so important.

In a much more reasonable dissent, Judge A. Marvin Quattlebaum asserted that the case was really a matter of statutory construction, and that the law’s text does not support the majority opinion. He wrote that “…linguistic drift cannot alter the meaning of words in the ADA when it was enacted. And at that time, the meaning of gender identity disorders included gender dysphoria as alleged by Williams … Under basic principles of statutory construction, Williams’ ADA claim should be dismissed … [W]hen the ADA was signed into law, gender identity disorder was understood to include what Williams alleges to be gender dysphoria.

The ADA prohibits discrimination against disabled individuals in all areas of public life, including employment, education, transportation, and in public places. This means that if the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision is left to stand, anyone who identifies as transgender would be eligible to receive public accommodations in bathrooms, locker rooms, prisons, same-sex housing, and more. This clearly opens the door for abuse of the law and infringements upon religious liberty and privacy rights. 

For example, religious institutions could be forced to hire individuals who do not share their respect for natural law and God’s design. Further, women could be forced to share bathrooms and locker rooms with biological men, which we’ve already seen has disastrous consequences. 

While this ruling only directly covers states within the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, the laws and ideas found within other states can certainly make their way to Wisconsin. We need to be aware of these ideas and refute them before they reach our communities.

Our rights and liberties are more important than an individual’s feelings (and individuals suffering from gender dysphoria need true help, not harmful “affirmation”), and the way that our public institutions are run needs to reflect biological realities.

 

Transgender “affirmation” in children is abusive

Transgender “affirmation” in children is abusive

Last week, as part of its “America Together: LBGTQ+ Pride Month” series, Fox News highlighted the story of a 14-year-old girl who was “transitioned” by her parents when she was just a toddler. Many viewers of the popular outlet, which is often seen as one of the only conservative-friendly mass media corporations, have been rightly extremely disappointed.

The segment claims that the child had chosen her gender as a toddler. “Before Ryland could even speak, ‘he’ managed to tell his parents that he is a boy,” reported Fox.

The outlet promoted the false notion that children can choose their sex and that subjecting them to harmful, experimental procedures is morally permissible. It even argued that administering puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones can protect them from suicide.

As we know, this is far from the truth. In fact, a recent Heritage study found the opposite to be true. Increased access to puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones has led to increased risk for suicide among youth.

“Starting in 2010, when puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones became widely available, elevated suicide rates in states where minors can more easily access those medical interventions became observable. Rather than being protective against suicide, this pattern indicates that easier access by minors to cross-sex medical interventions without parental consent is associated with higher risk of suicide,” reads the study.

Fox News’ recent segment is an unfortunate example of the danger in blindly following any “conservative” or even “Christian” outlet or pundit. We must each discern the truth for ourselves and judge every argument not solely based on its source, but on its individual merit.

As Christians, we must rely on God’s Word alone and judge sources and their statements based on whether they align with biblical truths. On this particular issue, Scripture is abundantly clear that God gave each of us our biological sex at the moment of conception, and He does not make mistakes.

Unfortunately, this is not the message  young children are learning from our culture. Drag queens are grooming Wisconsin children in Milwaukee, Fort Atkinson, and now Watertown, teaching them to engage in unrestrained self-expression and indulge in selfish desires.

On July 16th, Unity Project will be hosting a “Pride in the Park” event in Watertown featuring a drag show. All of this is part of the left’s attempt to redefine gender and sexualize young children.

Children need legislative protection from the woke culture encouraging them to question their gender and sexuality. Last year, WFA supported Senate Bill 915, which would have prohibited health care providers from offering gender “transition” procedures to children under the age of 18.

This bill didn’t move this session, but the authors are committed to bringing it back next session. Sadly, in the meantime, Wisconsin children are currently left unprotected. This means that parents need to be as vigilant as ever and shield their children from drag shows and leftist propaganda that is bound to leave them confused about human sexuality.

Carl R. Trueman has a poignant quote for these times: “The moral vision here is that whatever makes the modern man or woman happy and which technology makes…possible must be good. That may be the spirit of the age, but it is not the spirit of conservatism.”  We would add that it also is not the “spirit” of true, biblical Christianity.

The good news is, we have an election this year. In August, voters can make their primary selections and in November we will have a statewide general election. This is the perfect opportunity for voters to select candidates who are prepared to advance critical legislation like SB 915 to protect our children.

Raise your voices, talk to your neighbors, volunteer for candidates who hold family values and a respect for God’s design

Children need help, not harm.

The “Help Not Harm Act” was formally introduced in the legislature this week, and we believe the bill is essential for children suffering from gender dysphoria in Wisconsin. The bill is authored by Senator André Jacque and Representative Scott Allen. They are joined by two other senators and nine other representatives as co-authors and co-sponsors.

The bill helps children who are confused about their biological sex by protecting them from harmful drugs and surgeries. It prohibits physicians and healthcare providers from facilitating any gender transition procedure to minors and also prohibits these providers from referring a minor to any other healthcare provider for a gender transition procedure.

A small but growing number of children are struggling to embrace their biological sex and believe that they were born in the wrong body. What these children need is real help, not affirmation of the lies they believe about themselves. However, in recent years, politicized medical organizations have pushed for invasive, harmful forms of “treatment” that can include off-label use of puberty blockers, administration of cross-sex hormones above naturally occurring levels, and even surgery.

Research shows the vast majority of these children will eventually come to reconcile with their biological sex. Given this reality, drastic and harmful interventions with lifelong consequences are even more concerning. By offering them life-altering treatments instead of talk therapy or other means of working through their distress, we are harming rather than helping them. There are numerous stories of people who later regret these interventions but are tragically stuck living with the consequences. Why would we encourage harmful interventions with lifelong, negative consequences for children?

These treatments have been proven to cause long-term, irreversible harm to minors. According to the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, cross-sex hormone risks for biological females include irreversible infertility, severe liver dysfunction, and coronary artery disease including heart attacks, hypertension and more. The cross-sex hormone risks for biological males include irreversible infertility, blood clots, and coronary artery disease including heart attacks, Type 2 diabetes and more. These treatments violate the first duty of medicine: do not harm. Puberty blockers also come with long-term negative consequences.

We also know that surgeries and drugs do not heal a hurting heart. Research shows people pursuing transition frequently have underlying or co-occurring mental health issues. In fact, “[s] 2014 study found 62.7% of patients diagnosed with gender dysphoria had at least one co-occurring disorder, and 33% were found to have major depressive disorders, which are linked to suicide ideation.” Once again, children suffering with this disorder need help, not harm.

Time and experience have taught us that young people do not have the mental faculties to make such substantial decisions. This “Help Not Harm Act” ensures that children can access real help rather than permanent harm from surgeries and drugs.

Please contact your state representative and state senator and urge them to pass this bill. Contact information for your elected officials is HERE. (Just put your address in the area at the top right.) Too many healthcare providers are acting recklessly, violating God’s design, and prioritizing ideology over the well-being of children. We must fulfill our duty and protect these children.

WFA president weighs in on recent court decision to redefine “sex” in federal law | VIDEO

US Supreme Court Once Again Oversteps Authority; In major decision Court redefines biological sex

Julaine Appling, WFA president, weighs in on recent Supreme Court decision to redefine biological sex. Read press release here: https://wifamilyaction.org/us-supreme-court-once-again-oversteps-authority-in-major-decision-court-redefines-biological-sex/

Posted by Wisconsin Family Action on Tuesday, June 16, 2020