A group of 14 parents are suing a Wisconsin school district over its policy that requires all staff, including teachers, to call students by their preferred names and pronouns, without parental consent.
According to the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL), which is representing the parents in the lawsuit, the new policies “enable children, of any age, to change their gender identity at school without parental notice or consent, and instruct district employees to conceal and even deceive parents about the gender identity their son or daughter has adopted at school.”
The Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) guidelines make clear that all district staff are required to affirm a student’s desired gender identity by calling them by their preferred pronouns. However, in communications with the parent, the staff is instructed to continue to use the student’s legal name. This deceives the parent into thinking the student is being called by their legal name at school.
The guideline states, “All staff correspondence and communication to families in regard to students shall reflect the name and gender documented in Infinite Campus unless the student has specifically given permission to do otherwise. This might involve using the student’s affirmed name and pronouns in the school setting, and their legal name and pronouns with family.”
The policy also mandates that students have the right to change their name for their school email address student ID, transcripts, diplomas and standardized tests, and in school publications like yearbooks.
WILL said in a statement, “Madison schools have adopted policies that violate constitutionally recognized parental rights. A public-school district should not, and cannot, make decisions reserved for parents.”
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) released a statement supporting the lawsuit by WILL. “This is a life-altering decision that educators have no business making. When schools cast aside biological reality in favor of gender identity ideology, it’s children who are hurt the most,” ADF Senior Counsel Roger Brooks said.
The policy from MMSD is deeply concerning for many reasons. Not only does it allow students to socially-transition their gender at school without notifying their parents or obtaining their consent, it also infringes upon the free speech rights of teachers.
Unfortunately, this new policy from the MMSD isn’t the only alarming event going on in the school district. On May 16, 2019, school administrators allowed a Madison schoolteacher who identifies as transgender to show a “personal coming out video to every class of Kindergarten through 5th grade at Allis Elementary School.”
In the video, Mr. Busenbark, who now goes by the pronoun “Mix” and the name “Vica Steel,” announces to the children that he is transgender. He goes on to read a book titled “They Call Me Mix.” Reading the book, he says in part, “Boy or girl? Are you a boy or a girl? How can you be both? Some days I am both. Some days I am neither. Most days I am everything in between.” This same teacher is also campaigning for the right to use the girl’s bathroom at school, even though he is biologically male
Liberty Counsel, a Christian ministry that seeks to defend the sanctity of life and religious liberty, sent a letter to the school district accusing it of violating several district policies and constitutional law.
Strange things are afoot in the schools of Madison, Wisconsin. Let’s pray common-sense and parental rights are soon restored.
The case is Doe v. Madison Metropolitan School District.
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