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Wisconsin court: Schools cannot socially transition gender-confused children without parents’ explicit consent

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“This particular case is simply whether a school district can supplant a parent’s right to control the healthcare and medical decisions for their children. The well established case law in that regard is clear – Kettle Moraine can not.”

–JUDGE MICHAEL MAXWELL

A Wisconsin judge ruled Tuesday that the Kettle Moraine School District’s policy of using a child’s preferred pronouns and name without parental knowledge or permission violates parents’ constitutional rights to direct their child’s health and upbringing and has enjoined the district from continuing to do so.

Two sets of parents filed suit against the district due to its policy of hiding children’s gender transitions from parents.

The first set of parents filed suit due to their experience with the district violating their parental rights. This couple, referred to as T.F. and B.F., temporarily took their daughter, A.F., out of school after she began questioning her gender. The parents took her to a mental health facility where the therapists immediately recommended a gender affirmative approach, saying that A.F. was transgender. Her parents were unsure that this was the correct treatment.

When the parents returned A.F. to Kettle Moraine School District, the district began using the then-12-year-old’s preferred name and pronouns. The parents objected, saying that they wanted the school to continue using their daughter’s biological pronouns and given name as they sought to address the underlying mental health issues she was facing, including her depression and anxiety. The district said that it would continue to use A.F.’s preferred pronouns and name regardless of her parents’ objections.

T.F. and B.F. withdrew their daughter from the district and soon after A.F. concluded that she did not want to change her sex.

The other set of parents, known as S.W. and P.W., have children in the school system and do not want the policy to be used to socially transition their children without their knowledge or permission.

Social transitions involve using a person’s preferred name and pronouns, allowing them to use the bathroom or locker room of their choice, playing on sports teams of their chosen gender, and allowing the person to dress and present themselves as their chosen gender.

The district argued that parents do not have a right to direct every aspect of their child’s education.

The Waukesha County Circuit Court, however, ruled that the issue is not one of education, but a medical decision which parents have the authority to decide.

Quoting from other cases, Circuit Court Judge Michael Maxwell wrote,

“‘[s]imply because the decision of a parent is not agreeable to a child or because it involves risks does not automatically transfer the power to make that decision from the parents to some agency or officer of the state.’ A child is not granted the same autonomous rights as adults because ‘[m]ost children, even in adolescence, simply are not able to make sound judgments concerning many decisions, including their need for medical care or treatment. Parents can and must make those judgments.’”

He added,

“Plaintiffs have introduced uncontested expert affidavits explaining that this is a medical issue as they offer insight into transgenderism and how both medical and social conditioning can impact a child’s mental health. Of particular importance to note is that both doctors agree that living a ‘double life’ where a child’s gender roles are different at home and school, is ‘inherently psychologically unhealthy’ and can undermine existing support structures for that child.”

Maxwell added that a child wanting to be a different sex is “undisputedly a medical and healthcare issue” and that the school district “put forth no evidence to the contrary.”

As such, he wrote,

“the School District went against the parents’ wishes on how to medically treat their child. This directly implicates an infringement against the parental autonomy right to direct the care for their child. 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 can not change the pronoun of a student without parental consent without impinging on a fundamental liberty interest of the parents.”

In conclusion, Maxwell stated, “This particular case is simply whether a school district can supplant a parent’s right to control the healthcare and medical decisions for their children. The well established case law in that regard is clear – Kettle Moraine can not.”

Under the decision Kettle Moraine School District is blocked from allowing or requiring a staff member to refer to a student using a name or pronouns at odds with their biological sex without express parental consent.

The mother of A.F. told the Daily Signal,

“I am so grateful the Court has found that this policy harms children and undermines the rights of parents to direct the upbringing of their children. Our daughter experienced increased anxiety and depression and her school responded to this by disregarding our parental guidance. Since leaving the school and allowing our daughter time to work through her mental health concerns, she has been able to healthily thrive and grow. Parents should be concerned when school districts disregard their concerns and override the voice and role of parents.”

A.F.’s mother said that as soon as her daughter said she was transgender, the only thing she was offered was “gender-affirming care.” When she asked the mental health professionals whether they discussed her “depression, her anxiety, her low self worth,” they said, “No.” She claimed the facility called the parents and essentially said, “You can go against her wishes, and if she does kill herself, that’s on you.”

The “experts” wanted to send this young girl on a path that would lead to pain, worsening mental health issues, a rejection of her true identity, experimental medical interventions, and — in the end — no solution to her problems. Yet these parents knew this wasn’t the right way to treat their daughter’s problems. They didn’t let mental health professionals or the school bully them into making the wrong choice. As a result, their daughter was able to come out of this struggle without the life-altering harms that gender affirmation “care” has caused so many.

“When my mom pulled me out of everything, I was allowed to process who I was and what I was going through,” A.F. explained. “I could learn how to heal and accept myself as a person.”

Children and teenagers sometimes face tough problems and some may question who they are or have mental health issues. Before the transgender contagion, girls often suffered body image issues that led them to take up extreme dieting and sometimes led to anorexia or bulimia; no one hid that information from parents and then secretly pushed the girls to take diet pills or suggested that gastric bypass surgery or liposuction would ease their mental anxiety.

What gender-confused children need is love, time, and care for their mental health problems — not for someone to tell them they were born in the wrong body. Children should be shown that God made them beautifully and learn to be comfortable in the body they were given.

This court ruling follows a century of Supreme Court precedent, and timeless biblical truth, that it is parents who get to decide what’s best for their children, not the state, not school bureaucrats, and certainly not woke, activist teachers.

As this issue rages in school districts around the nation, more parents must stand up and challenge these policies, and hopefully, more judges will uphold their God-given rights to oversee their child’s upbringing and care without interference.


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