ALF Urges Supreme Court To Uphold Parents’ Rights

The question presented by the pending certiorari petition in Parents Protecting Our Children v. Eau Claire Area School District, Wisconsin (23-1280) is whether parents have standing to challenge a school district’s “gender identity transition policy”—a policy, like many that have proliferated throughout the United States, that explicitly keeps parents in the dark if a student wishes to conceal his or her supposed gender identity, e.g., “transgender,” “non-binary,” “gender-nonconforming,” “gender-expansive,” or “gender-questioning,” and/or ongoing gender identity “transition.” 

This means that if a student requests confidentiality, parents are not informed about, much less asked to consent to, the “Gender Support Plan” developed by school staff to facilitate a transgender-indoctrinated student’s supposedly well-considered choices about his or her name, pronouns, attire, bathroom, locker room, extracurricular activities, athletic teams, etc. while at school.

An unincorporated association of parents filed a federal district court complaint challenging the Eau Claire, Wisconsin school district’s gender identity transition policy on constitutional grounds. The district court dismissed the complaint on the ground that the parents lacked standing to sue because their complaint does not allege that the policy has been applied to any of their children. On appeal, the Seventh Circuit affirmed.

On behalf of the Atlantic Legal Foundation (ALF), I have filed an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to grant review. The brief was co-authored by John Reeves of Reeves Law LLC.

Case Background

Eau Claire’s gender identity transition policy apparently applies to K-12 students no matter how young. The policy requires school administrators and teachers to hide from parents, at a student’s request, his or her new gender identity or ongoing gender identity transition (e.g., choice of names, pronouns, attire, bathroom and locker room facilities, etc.).

This keep-parents-in-the-dark policy is reflected in the template for the individual “Student Gender Support Plan” that the school district’s “Administrative Guidance for Gender Identity Support” requires school staff to prepare for gender identity-transitioning (or already transitioned) students.

The court of appeals explained that a student’s Gender Support Plan “records the shared understanding between the student and the School District of a student’s gender identity and parental involvement in the process” (emphasis added). In other words, the student, in consultation with school staff, decides whether, or how much, his or her parents should know.

Questions like these implement the school district’s Administrative Guidance. The guidance states that “[p]rotecting the privacy of transgender, non-binary, and/or gender non-conforming students . . . must be a top priority. . . . School personnel should speak with the student first before discussing a student’s gender nonconformity or transgender status with the student’s parent/guardian,” including because of parents’ possible “lack of acceptance.”

As if keeping parents in the dark were not enough, the school district’s “Equity PD [Professional Development] For All Staff” training materials include the following startling statement: “Parents are not entitled to know their kids’ identities. That knowledge must be earned.”

ALF Chairman & President Hayward D. Fisk observed that “Such Orwellian heavy handedness offends traditional notions of fairness and parental rights, while jeopardizing the well-being of our impressionable youngsters and undermining longstanding American jurisprudence.”

ALF’s Amicus Brief

ALF’s amicus brief urges the Court to grant review and hold that parents have standing to challenge on constitutional, statutory, and/or common-law grounds gender transition identity policies like the one adopted and implemented by the Eau Claire school district. To underscore the importance of the question presented, the amicus brief highlights the deeply rooted jurisprudential history of parents’ natural and legal right to superintend their children’s upbringing and oversee their K–12 education.

The brief explains, however, that this fundamental parental right is under attack by transgender activists, who despite their relatively small number, have infiltrated many of the nation’s public school systems. Their well-organized and funded effort to unravel our nation’s social fabric systematically infuses gullible boys and girls with self-doubt about who they are, and as this case illustrates, secretly encourages and facilitates their “gender identity transition.” The Court, therefore, should grant review and hold that parents have standing to challenge public school districts’ gender identity transition policies that substitute the troubling ideology of “woke” administrators and teachers for the sound judgment of a child’s own parents.

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