A school policy that blatantly ignores parents’ constitutional rights to direct the education and upbringing of their children is being challenged in a Wisconsin court by two sets of parents.
One of those sets of parents has a 12-year-old daughter who, in December 2020, started questioning her gender at school, part of the Kettle Moraine School District in Wales, Wisconsin. Because she was suffering from anxiety and depression at the time, her parents – referred to for privacy reasons as “B__ and T__ F__” in the redacted Complaint provided to the public by their attorneys – removed her from school temporarily in order for her to visit a mental health center.
But the mental health center only “affirmed” that what the daughter was experiencing was real and that the sooner she “transitioned” to a boy, the better she would be. When the daughter informed her parents and the school that she was indeed a transgender boy and wanted to be called by a male name and pronouns, the parents instructed the school not to comply.
The school refused, citing a school district policy that required school staff to use the preferred name and pronouns the daughter wanted.
The parents immediately removed their daughter from the school and cut ties with the mental health center that her daughter visited for treatment. It turned out to be a blessing.
“The [parents’] concerns were soon validated,” a letter to the school from the parents’ attorneys stated.
“After leaving the center and withdrawing from school, their daughter’s demeanor began to change. A few weeks later, she expressed to her mother that ‘affirmative care really messed me up.’ She explained that the therapists at the center did not question or help her process her feelings, but told her that, now that she knew she was really a boy, the sooner she transitioned the better because it’s easier when you’re young.
“They also told her she was right to be angry at her mother for not immediately allowing her to ‘be who she was.’ She now realizes this was wrong and actually fueled anger towards her mother. She has reverted to identifying by her birth name and female pronouns and enrolled in a different school district.”
The parents are suing the school district to force a change in the school’s policy. They are joined by another set of parents who are concerned that should their child ever experience feelings of gender dysphoria, the school’s policy would undermine their constitutional rights to deal with the issue free of the school’s interference.
The parents are represented by attorneys with the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty as well as the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).
“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,” ADF Senior Counsel Kate Anderson, director of the ADF Center for Parental Rights, said in a press release. Yet we are seeing more and more school districts across the country not only ignoring parents’ concerns, but actively working against them.
“The parents in this case know and love their daughter and are doing their best to get her the expert care she needs in her battle with anxiety and depression. We are asking the court to respect the serious concerns of these parents by ensuring Kettle Moraine School District swiftly changes its policy that is undermining parents and harming children.”
Besides the constitutional issues involved, the parents’ attorneys cited studies of children experiencing gender dysphoria which revealed that the vast majority of them – 80-90% – ultimately “desist,” finding comfort with their biological sex; unless they transition.
One of the foundational pillars of Focus on the Family’s mission concerns parenting:
“We believe children are a heritage from God and a blessing from His hand. Parents are therefore accountable to Him for raising, shaping and preparing them for a life of service to His Kingdom and to humanity.
“‘Has not the Lord made them [a husband and wife] one? In flesh and spirit they are His. And why one? Because He was seeking godly offspring.’ Malachi 2:15.”
We’ll keep you apprised of developments in this Wisconsin lawsuit.
The case is B__ and T__ F__ v. Kettle Moraine School District.
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