Conservative law firm wants to give teachers the power to out students to their parents
A conservative law firm has threatened legal action against a school district over a policy that bans teachers from outing their students.
The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty sent a letter of demand to Madison School District, seeking the repeal of its policy on support for transgender, non-binary and gender-expansive students.
The disputed policy, issued in 2018, directs that “school staff shall not disclose any information that may reveal a student’s gender identity to others, including parents or guardians and other school staff, unless legally required to do so or unless the student has authorised such disclosure.”
Madison School District could face lawsuit over policy that bans ‘outing’
The law firm, which says it is representing 15 parents with children in the Madison, Wisconsin school district, claims that the policies “violate our clients’ constitutional rights as parents.”
If its demands are unmet within 45 days, the group is expected to file legal action against the school board.
In a statement to the Wisconsin State-Journal, a spokesperson for the school district said: “Currently, our view of the challenged portions of the guidance document remains unchanged. We intend to review the letter closely and will formulate a response accordingly.
“[The district] remains dedicated to creating an inclusive and welcoming learning environment.
“Our commitment to this and all other inclusive practices in our schools remain unchanged.”
Conservative law firm claims parents have a right to know about their children’s gender identity
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Luke Berg of Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty told the local newspaper: “Parents have a constitutional right to be involved in significant decisions that affect their child’s health and well-being.
“The decision to change gender identity, which should not be a surprise, is both highly controversial and potentially highly consequential, and that’s exactly the type of decision that parents need to be involved in.”
He added: “Our hope is that the School District will see the flaw in the policy and will be willing to make some changes.
“Obviously, we’d prefer not to file a lawsuit, but what we care about is protecting parents’ rights and changing the policy.”
The Canadian province of Alberta faced a similar storm earlier this year, when the right-wing United Conservative Party pledged to axe a law that prevents teachers from outing school children in gay-straight alliance groups to their parents.
The party won a majority in state elections despite anger from LGBT+ groups.