Last summer, Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) and the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) filed a lawsuit against Kettle Moraine School District (KMSD) for its gender identity policy that 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.
Now, WILL and ADF have brought on two experts in support of summary judgment in this case. The experts specialize in gender dysphoria, asserting that school personnel socially transitioning a minor as is happening in this school district violates widely accepted mental health principles and practice.
Dr. Erica E. Anderson is a transgender clinical psychologist from Berkeley, California. Over the last 40 years, she has worked with hundreds of children and young adults struggling with their gender identity. She has also been a board member for the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) and served as the President of USPATH (the United States arm of WPATH).
Dr. Anderson’s affidavit states, “A school policy that involves school adult personnel in socially transitioning a child or adolescent without the consent of parents or over their objection violates widely accepted mental health principles and practice.”
The second expert, Dr. Stephen Levine, is a psychiatrist and professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. He helped develop the 5th version of the WPATH guidelines and served as the court-appointed expert in the first major case to reach a federal court of appeals pertaining to surgery for transgender prisoners.
Dr. Levine’s publications include “Transitioning back to maleness” (2018), “Ethical Concerns About Emerging Treatment Paradigms for Gender Dysphoria” (2017), “Meanings and political implications of ‘psychopathology’ in a gender identity clinic: A report of 10 cases” (2009), “The standards of care for gender identity disorders” (1998), among many others.
If the Waukesha County judge grants summary judgment, then the parents win. This would be incredibly encouraging and right. As the parents’ attorneys argue, not only is the school’s policy harmful to children, it’s an unconstitutional violation of the parents’ rights. School districts statewide and across the country should be watching this case closely.
The Wisconsin Constitution protects the “inherent right” of parents to “direct the upbringing and education of children under their control.” For the sake of children’s safety and well-being, parents must be the primary decision-makers when it comes to their children’s upbringing, education, and mental health. No school has the right to override parents in any way, especially when it comes to something as personal and important as gender.
A hearing for this case is scheduled for April 19th, and a ruling is expected in the late spring or summer. Hopefully, Dr. Levine and Dr. Anderson guide the Court to a decision that will protect children and parent’s 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.