Parents sue Wisconsin school district over trans pronoun policy: 'Significant breach of trust'

A sign outside a classroom taken in 2016. |

Two sets of parents have filed a lawsuit against a school district in Wisconsin over a policy that reportedly allows students to change their name and gender pronouns without parental consent.

The parents filed the complaint in Wisconsin Circuit Court on Nov. 17 against Kettle Moraine Middle School, their names being redacted in the documents released to the public.

According to the complaint, one set of parents had a 12-year-old daughter enrolled at Kettle Moraine Middle School who was experiencing depression, anxiety and questioned her gender.

The parents sought counseling and wanted their daughter to be referred to by her birth name and female pronouns. However, the school replied that they would identify her by her chosen name and pronouns instead.

Although the daughter has since “changed her mind about wanting to transition to a male identity,” according to the complaint, the parents believe the school engaged in a “significant breach of trust” and have transferred her to another school.

The other set of parents have two children presently enrolled at Kettle Moraine School District, and have sought an injunction against the gender-affirming policy.

The parents are being represented by the Madison-based Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty and the conservative legal nonprofit Alliance Defending Freedom.

ADF Senior Counsel Kate Anderson said in a statement that the case is centered on securing the rights of parents.

“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. Yet we are seeing more and more school districts across the country not only ignoring parents’ concerns, but actively working against them,” stated Anderson.

“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.”

WILL Deputy Counsel Luke Berg, the lead counsel for the case, stressed that schools "cannot override parents when it comes to decisions about their children."

"Students’ decisions about what names and genders pronouns they prefer are no exception. Schools must defer to parents about what is best for their child.”

The Christian Post reached out to Kettle Moraine Middle School for comment on Tuesday, but a spokesperson said the school could not comment on pending litigation.

According to an entry on the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction regarding the Wisconsin Information System for Education data collection, the question of “how to mark the gender of a student who is transgender is a decision that the student and the family makes.”

“A person could originally be documented in the system by creating a WISEid reflecting a previous name and gender, but then once the WISEid has been created, the name and gender could be changed to reflect the new name and/or gender that aligns with the person’s identity,” continued the WDPI.  

“For purposes of finding possible matches in the match review process over time and across districts, the original name could be used in the ‘Other Name’ field (for persons under 18, with permission from the family).”  

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