Wisconsin court paves way for parental rights

Wisconsin court paves way for parental rights

Wisconsin court paves way for parental rights

Conservative attorneys hope a recent victory against one district's transgender policy will send a message to likeminded school districts across the country.

Luke Berg, deputy counsel at Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL), explains that they just won a summary judgement in a parental rights case that challenged a school district's policy to, without parental consent, begin addressing gender-confused children as the opposite sex when they are at school.

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) partnered with WILL in the case against the Kettle Moraine School District in Wales, Wisconsin.

"We represented a family whose daughter … was experiencing a mental health crisis that spiraled into gender dysphoria and believing that she was a boy," Berg details. "Her parents, after researching the issue, decided [affirmation] wasn't what was best for her in the short term; they wanted to take a more cautious approach and have her process what she was feeling."

When the parents communicated this to the district, they were told that school officials would call their daughter whatever she wanted at school; their decision did not matter.

Berg, Luke (WILL) Berg

"They (the parents) immediately pulled her from the school district, from social media, from a healthcare environment that had rushed to affirm that she was really a boy," the attorney reports. "Within a few weeks, their daughter realized that her parents were right and that the rush to affirm that she was a boy had messed her up -- that was her own words to her mother."

As AFN has reported, while that was a good end to the girl's story, it did not change the school's policy. So with a demand letter asking the school district to change the policy, WILL and ADF tried to get a resolution without going to court.

"They refused to, and so we sued," says Berg.

He calls this ruling from the Waukesha County Circuit Court "a big win for parental rights" that he hopes will send a message to other school districts that if they have a policy like this, they can be sued and lose.

Berg points out that parents do not lose their rights once their children walk through the schoolhouse doors.

"You get parental consent forms all the time from the school, and that was one of the main points the judge made: A school district could not administer medication to a student while they're at school without getting parental consent, a school district could not play a kid on a sports team without parental consent, and in the same way, they can't facilitate the gender identity transition … without getting parental consent," the attorney relays.

As for the concerns that this will force school districts to "out" students who are not ready to "come out" to their parents, he asserts that is not WILL's intent.

"We want to be clear that all this establishes is that before staff, before all the adults in the school begin treating a child as if they are the opposite sex, you need to get parental consent first," says Berg.

He concludes that what WILL and ADF want for parents is not "unreasonable" or "out of the norm." With the court's agreement in this case, they hope other courts will reach the same conclusion.