Judge strikes down Wisconsin school district’s gender policy

Kettle Moraine Schools said it handles things on a case-by-case basis.

Published: October 3, 2023 11:01pm

(The Center Square) -

A judge in Waukesha County issued a ruling that sides with parents in the debate over how school districts handle transgenderism in schools.

Judge Michael Maxwell on Tuesday sided with two parents in the Kettle Moraine School District after they sued in 2021 because the district did not tell them that school leaders and teachers were calling their middle school-aged daughter by a different name at school.

“This court has before it what modern society deems a controversial issue – transgenderism involving minors within our schools. Clearly, the law on this issue is still developing across the country and remaining largely unsettled. However, this particular case is not about that broad controversial issue. This particular case is simply whether a school district can supplant a parent’s right to control the health care and medical decisions for their children. The well-established case law in that regard is clear – Kettle Moraine cannot,” the judge wrote. “The School District abrogated the parental rights of [the parents] on how to medically treat [their child] when the district decided to socially affirm [the child] at school despite [the parents] requesting it does not. Through its policy of disregarding parental wishes on a medical or health related decision and with how fast questioning one's gender can arise, [the parents] are at real risk of being harmed.”

Kevin Marine Schools defended the decision to keep gender decisions from parents, saying informing all parents of all children's decisions to change gender could put some students at risk.

The judge said that argument didn't cut it.

Kettle Moraine Schools said it handles things on a case-by-case basis.

The judge took issue with that.

“Rather than doing what the voters have elected them to do, the Kettle Moraine School Board abrogated their responsibility to either pass judgment on a policy regarding these serious issues or to affirm the actions of their employee, the superintendent. Instead, the School District has hidden behind claims of no parental right or unfounded Title IX issues rather than give

parents in their district what they deserve – clear guidance on how the district intends to handle these controversial issues,” the judge wrote.

Luke Berg with the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, one of the law firms that handled the case, said this is the first time a judge has come down on the side of the parents in a case like this one.

“This victory represents a major win for parental rights. The court confirmed that parents, not educators or school faculty, have the right to decide whether a social transition is in their own child’s best interests. 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 added.

The parents in the case removed their daughter from school but have two children who remain in the school district.

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