A Wisconsin judge has ruled that the Kettle Moraine School District cannot continue to use students’ requested name or gender changes without permission from their parents.
The Waukesha County Circuit Court decision on Tuesday is being celebrated as a victory for parental rights in education.
Two parents had sued the district in 2021, alleging that their daughter’s school had went along with her “gender transition” against their wishes. The parents had enlisted the help of an outside professional, and she did not end up transitioning, but the Kettle Moraine School District “refused to respect their decision,” according to the lawsuit.
The school’s policy violates the Constitutional rights of parents, according to the ruling.
“The School District could not administer medicine to a student without parental consent,” the ruling states. “The School District could not require or allow a student to participate in a sport without parental consent. Likewise, the School District can not change the pronoun of a student without parental consent without impinging on a fundamental liberty interest of the parents.”
The ruling stated that social transitioning is a “powerful psychotherapeutic intervention” that likely reduces the number of children desisting from their transgender identity and can lead them to using puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones, which carry known risks. “Thus, informed consent from the parents must be obtained before socially transitioning a child.”
The parents were represented by the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) and Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). The organization’s told ABC News that the ruling is a “first-of-its-kind win” against a school policy meant to “circumvent parents.”
“Parents’ rights to direct the upbringing and education of their children is one of the most basic constitutional rights every parent holds dear,” ADF Senior Counsel Kate Anderson told the outlet. “Yet we are seeing more and more school districts across the country not only ignoring parents’ concerns but actively working against them.”
WILL Deputy Counsel Luke Berg added, “This victory represents a major win for parental rights.”
“The decision should be a warning to the many districts across the country with similar policies to exclude parents from gender transitions at school,” Berg continued.
Dr. Stephen Plum, the superintendent of the Kettle Moraine School District, told Crisis in the Classroom that the schools “will continue to work with all students, parents, guardians and staff to clarify expectations.”
“We respect the rights of parents and continue to require written parental consent if and when using a student’s name or pronouns at odds with the student’s sex at birth,” Plum continued.