A school district in Wisconsin was sued on Wednesday over its gender identity training which allows teachers and school staff to hide student gender transitions from parents.
America First Legal (AFL) and the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) filed the lawsuit on behalf of a group of parents against the Eau Claire Area School District (ECASD), along with its board members and superintendent, claiming the current policies violate their freedom of religion and parental rights.
“Policies like Eau Claire’s blatantly violate parents’ constitutional rights to raise their children. School staff do not replace parents while their children are at school. A gender identity transition is a major event in a child’s life; schools must defer to parents about this,” WILL Deputy Counsel Luke Berg said in a statement.
The ECASD’s current Gender Identity Policy instructs teachers and staff to be careful in using a transitioning student’s identity and name with parents, as well as in the use of an opposite-gender restroom by transitioning students.
Parents Protecting Our Children, the name of the group of parents involved in the legal case, expressed concern over the training that could conceal a student’s gender transition from parents.
A questionnaire used in the training, provided by the AFL, shares some of the content involved in staff training.
Another slide used in the training claims that “parents are not entitled to know their kids’ identities. That knowledge must be earned.” Teachers are instructed to prioritize the student over parental rights.
During a “Safe Spaces Part Two” training for the district’s teachers, the facilitator, Christopher Jorgenson, stated: “We understand and acknowledge that teachers are often put in terrible positions caught between parents and their students. But much like we wouldn’t act as stand-ins for abuse in other circumstances, we cannot let parents’ rejection of their children guide teachers’ reactions and actions and advocacy for our students.”
AFL President Stephen Miller referred to the approach as the sexual exploitation of children.
“Wisconsin public schools are engaged in the malicious sexual exploitation of minor children and America First Legal is proud to be coming to their defense and the defense of their families,” Miller shared in a statement regarding the lawsuit.
“Eau Claire schools have adopted a monstrous plan to secretly ‘change’ the genders of children as young as 5 — without parental consent — effectively subjecting them to unnatural ideological experiments contrary to their health and biology,” he continued. “This includes forcing boys and girls to share bathrooms and other private spaces without their consent, a further invasion and desecration of childhood innocence and fundamental childhood wellbeing.”
ECASD spokesperson Teri Piper Thompson confirmed to The Associated Press on Wednesday that the content noted in the legal case is the district’s current policy. The school district is not commenting on the lawsuit at this time.