MADISON, Wisc. — A right-wing legal group is threatening to sue the Madison, Wisc., school district over a policy that bars transgender students from being outed to parents.
The Wisconsin State Journal reported that the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) sent a letter to the district giving them 45 days to change the policy or face a lawsuit. The group claims the policy is unconstitutional.
WILL sent a letter to the district on Wednesday laying out their arguments.
“Parents have a constitutional right to be involved in significant decisions that affect their child’s health and well-being,” Luke Berg, deputy counsel at WILL, told the newspaper. “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.”
The State Journal reported that the demand letter claims the district’s guidance document violates parental rights protected by due process and religious freedom clauses in both the state and federal constitutions.
In the letter, WILL lists previous court rulings it says support its position and asks the district to require “parental notice and consent before a student may change gender identity at school.”
District spokesman Tim LeMonds told the newspaper that the district “remains dedicated to creating an inclusive and welcoming learning environment,” including a safe and non-discriminatory environment for students of all gender identities.
“Our commitment to this and all other inclusive practices in our schools remain unchanged,” he said.
The district has a guidance document that includes how students an change their names in the student information system and suggested language to be used in classrooms. The approach is aimed at protecting transgender and non-binary students whose parents might not be accepting of them.
“Currently, our view of the challenged portions of the guidance document remains unchanged,” LeMonds told the State Journal. “We intend to review the letter closely and will formulate a response accordingly.”
Berg told the newspaper that WILL has 15 parents in the district who have signed on to be represented in a lawsuit over the policy. None have been directly affected by the policy.