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Judge Sides with Parents Over School in Transgender Case: 'Major Win for Parental Rights'

Michael Foust | Crosswalk Headlines Contributor | Published: Oct 04, 2023
Judge Sides with Parents Over School in Transgender Case: 'Major Win for Parental Rights'

Judge Sides with Parents Over School in Transgender Case: 'Major Win for Parental Rights'

In a major victory for parental rights, a judge ruled on Monday that a Wisconsin school violated the state constitution when it defied the wishes of a female student’s father and mother by allowing her to identify as a male.

The case involved a 12-year-old female student in the Kettle Moraine School District who began experiencing anxiety and depression and told school officials she wanted to change her name and pronouns in order to transition to a boy socially. Her parents objected to the change, yet the school said it would follow the wishes of the student over the opposition of the mom and dad. The parents then pulled her from school, after which her demeanor changed, and she decided she wanted to continue using her birth name and female pronouns.

The parents sued the school district, alleging it violated their parental rights guaranteed within the Wisconsin Constitution. Another family also joined the suit. 

Wisconsin Circuit Court Judge Michael P. Maxwell sided with the parents on Monday.  

“The School District could not administer medicine to a student without parental consent. The School District could not require or allow a student to participate in a sport without parental consent. Likewise, the School District cannot change the pronoun of a student without parental consent without impinging on a fundamental liberty interest of the parents,” Maxwell ruled

A school district, he ruled, cannot “supplant a parent’s right to control the healthcare and medical decisions for their children.” Doing so “violates parents’ constitutional right to determine the appropriate medical and healthcare for their children,” he wrote.

Circumventing, bypassing, or excluding parents from decisions “about a social transition undermines the main support structure for a child or adolescent who desperately needs support.” Social transitioning, he noted, “can lead them to use puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones, which carry known risks.”

“Thus, informed consent from the parents must be obtained before socially transitioning a child,” he wrote.

The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty and Alliance Defending Freedom represented the child.

“Parents’ rights to direct the upbringing and education of their children is one of the most basic constitutional rights every parent holds dear,” said ADF senior counsel Kate Anderson. “Yet we are seeing more and more school districts across the country not only ignoring parents’ concerns but actively working against them. The court was right to respect the serious concerns of these parents by holding that Kettle Moraine School District’s policy, which undermines parents and harms children, violates the Wisconsin Constitution.”

Luke Berg of the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty said the “victory represents a major win for parental rights.”

Photo Courtesy:  ©Getty Images/Tiero

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

Judge Sides with Parents Over School in Transgender Case: 'Major Win for Parental Rights'