Parents sue Wisconsin school district over policy to use children's preferred pronouns without parental knowledge or consent

by Laura Mize · Feb 19th, 2020 11:00 am

Last Updated Feb 19th, 2020 at 12:03 pm

Fourteen parents represented by the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty filed suit Tuesday against the Madison Metropolitan School District for its policy requiring teachers to call children who reportedly question their own gender identity by their preferred names and pronouns at school without the knowledge or consent of the parents.

Adopted in 2018, the policy stipulates that if a child's preferred identity is not respected by parents, educators must keep the use of the new names and pronouns confidential. School employees are instructed to use a student's given name and pronouns in the presence of the child's parents. Under the "Guidance & Policies to Support Transgender, Non-Binary, and Gender-Expansive Students," records of the student's request will not be kept with his or her educational record.

"Madison schools have adopted policies that violate constitutionally recognized parental rights," WILL President Rick Esenberg said in a statement released Tuesday. "A public school district should not, and cannot, make decisions reserved for parents."

The lawsuit charges that the district policy skirts a state law allowing parents to access their children's student records.

The suit also notes that most of the plaintiffs are Christians who view each person's biological sex as "a gift, not an arbitrary imposition." In addition, it cites experts in the field of gender dysphoria who question the practice of allowing or encouraging children to begin a gender "transition."


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