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Parents sue Kettle Moraine school district over gender transition policy

Parents sue Kettle Moraine school district over gender transition policy

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Some parents are suing the Kettle Moraine School District over a policy that allows minor students to change their names and gender pronouns at school without parental consent — an issue already being litigated in the Madison School District.

The lawsuit by two sets of parents was filed Wednesday by the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty and the Alliance Defending Freedom in Waukesha County Circuit Court.

Wisconsin school superintendent candidate Jill Underly accused her opponent, Deborah Kerr, of being transphobic during a forum Thursday after Kerr said she supports prohibiting transgender students from playing girls sports.

The parents of a 12-year-old girl say they withdrew their daughter from the district to protect her mental health and preserve their parental role. They say the school district violated their constitutional rights as parents by using a male name and male pronouns to address their daughter at school without their consent and over their objections.

“Schools cannot override parents when it comes to decisions about their children. Gender identity transitions are no exception. Schools must defer to parents about what is best for their child,” said WILL deputy counsel Luke Berg.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs say the U.S. and state constitutions recognize the “inherent right” of parents to “direct the upbringing and education of children under their control” and that parents are the primary decision-makers in regards to their minor children.

They argue the Kettle Moraine School District adopted a policy that disregards parents’ decision about how their children will be addressed at school.

The school district declined to comment, citing ongoing litigation.

WILL is also suing the Madison School District over its administrative policy that shields transitioning transgender students from parental notification. The lawsuit was brought on behalf of 14 anonymous parents, though that number had dropped to six.

Dane County Judge Frank Remington ruled last year that the district must provide truthful information to parents about a transitioning student if asked, but doesn’t have to volunteer that information. He also ruled that the plaintiffs cannot be anonymous. Those decisions have been appealed to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.


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