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Figliola v. Harrisonburg City Public School Board

Description:  The Harrisonburg City Public School Board in Virginia is usurping parents’ right to direct the upbringing of their children and forcing school staff to violate their religious beliefs by affirming the board’s view on gender identity. Upon a child’s request, school district policy requires staff to immediately begin using opposite-sex pronouns and forbids staff from sharing information with parents about their child’s request, instead instructing staff to mislead and deceive parents.


Harrisonburg High School in Virginia
Harrisonburg High School in Virginia
Monday, Oct 31, 2022

WHO:  Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys

WHAT:  Available for media interviews following oral arguments in Figliola v. Harrisonburg City Public School Board

WHEN:  Immediately following hearing, which begins at 1:30 p.m. EDT, Tuesday, Nov. 1

WHERE:  Rockingham County Circuit Court, 80 Court Square, Harrisonburg. To schedule an interview, contact ADF Media Relations Manager Ellie Wittman at (202) 503-7984.

HARRISONBURG, Va. – Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing a group of parents and teachers will be available for media interviews Tuesday following oral arguments at the Rockingham County Circuit Court in their lawsuit against the Harrisonburg City Public School Board. ADF attorneys are asking the court to temporarily halt the school board from violating parents’ fundamental rights by concealing information about their children’s mental health and from forcing teachers to violate their religious beliefs by affirming the board’s view on gender identity.

“Parents—not public schools or government officials—have the fundamental right to direct the upbringing, care, and education of their children,” said ADF Senior Counsel Vincent Wagner, who will be arguing before the court on behalf of the teachers and parents in Figliola v. Harrisonburg City Public School Board. “Schools can’t keep secrets from parents about kids’ mental health, especially when it comes to decisions like these—decisions with potentially life-changing consequences. We’re asking the court to let parents and teachers do their jobs.”

Upon a child’s request, school district policy requires staff to immediately begin using opposite-sex pronouns and forbids staff from sharing information with parents about their child’s request, instead instructing staff to mislead and deceive parents. The policy resulted in the school district implementing “Gender Transition Action Plans,” which make clear that students’ families will only be involved where it is deemed “appropriate.”

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.

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ABOUT Vincent Wagner

Vincent Wagner serves as senior counsel with the Center for Parental Rights at Alliance Defending Freedom where he safeguards parents’ rights to direct the upbringing, education, and care of their children. Before joining ADF in 2022, Wagner served the state of Arkansas as deputy solicitor general. Prior to his government service, Wagner was an associate with Baker Botts L.L.P. Wagner earned his B.A., summa cum laude, from Harding University and his J.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. Immediately after law school, he clerked for then-Chief Judge Ed Carnes of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Wagner is admitted to the state bars of Texas and Arkansas, the U.S. Supreme Court, and various lower federal courts.