MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A group of parents is suing the Eau Claire school district for guidance to staff members on supporting transgender students.
Parents Protecting Our Children, a group of parents with children in the Eau Claire school system, argued in a complaint filed in federal court Wednesday that the school's policies for supporting transgender students violate constitutional protections for parental rights and religious freedom.
A district policy titled “Administrative Guidance for Gender Identity Support” encourages transgender students to reach out to staff members with concerns and instructs employees to be careful who they talk to about a student's gender identity, since not all students are “out” to their families.
"School personnel should speak with the student first before discussing a student’s gender nonconformity or transgender status with the student’s parent/guardian," the policy says.
Two law firms that frequently litigate for conservative causes, Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty and America First Legal, will represent the parents in the suit.
“School staff do not replace parents while their children are at school,” said WILL attorney Luke Berg. “A gender identity transition is a major event in a child’s life; schools must defer to parents about this.”
Eau Claire Area School District spokesperson Teri Piper Thompson confirmed that the guidance in question is the district's current policy. She declined to comment on the lawsuit, saying the district had only recently received a copy of the complaint.