Two sets of Wisconsin parents are suing the Kettle Moraine School District in Wales, Wisc., to challenge its policy that allows children to change their name and gender pronouns at school without parental consent.
On Wednesday, a Wisconsin Circuit Court judge denied a motion by the school district to dismiss the case. Judge Michael P. Maxwell ruled that the parents' lawsuit has merit, saying it "demonstrates a potential violation of their rights as parents to direct the upbringing of their child and is sufficient to survive a motion to dismiss."
One of the couples in the case, identified in the lawsuit as T.F. and B.F., was forced to withdraw their 12-year-old daughter from the district to protect her mental health and preserve their parental role. They allege the school district violated their constitutionally protected parental rights by using a male name and male pronouns to address their daughter at school without their consent and over their objections, according to the complaint.
Additionally, another couple joined the lawsuit against the district to make sure the same thing doesn't happen to their children.
"For purposes of a motion to dismiss, T.F. and B.F.'s allegations are that they were forced to withdraw their daughter from Kettle Moraine to protect her and preserve their parental role when Kettle Moraine refused to honor their decision about what was best for their daughter. Wisconsin courts recognize that parents have a right to make "decisions regarding the education and upbringing of their children," Judge Maxwell wrote, "free from government intervention."
Maxwell also noted that the other set of parents identified as P.W. and S.W. "may challenge a policy of the district that they believe interferes with their parental rights."
After denying the motion to dismiss, the judge gave the school district 20 days to file an answer to the complaint.
"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. For that reason, we are pleased that the court rejected the school district's request to throw out this case and instead recognized that the argument of our clients demonstrates a potential violation of their rights as parents to direct the upbringing of their child,'" Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Roger Brooks said in a statement.
"Kettle Moraine should take this opportunity to change its policy, which violates the constitutionally protected rights of parents and isn't in the best interest of children. As the court wrote, 'Wisconsin courts recognize that parents have a right to make 'decisions regarding the education and upbringing of their children,' 'free from government intervention,'" the statement concluded.
According to the ADF, before filing the lawsuit, attorneys from WILL and ADF wrote a letter to the school district expressing the concerns of their clients and asking it to change its policy to require parental consent before school officials use a child's preferred name or pronoun at school and to retrain its staff accordingly. The school district did not respond to the letter, leaving the parents with no choice but to file suit.
CBN News has reached out to the Kettle Moraine School District for comment. We will publish it here if we hear back.
The Bible says that children are a blessing from the Lord. Do you have questions about children, parenting, discipline, or family life? CBN has wonderful resources for you!