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Wisconsin parents sue school district for shutting them out of children's name, pronoun changes

ADF, Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty attorneys represent parents

Wednesday, Nov 17, 2021

MILWAUKEE – The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty and Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing two sets of Wisconsin parents have filed a lawsuit against the Kettle Moraine School District to challenge its policy that allows minor students to change their name and gender pronouns at school without parental consent.

One of the Wisconsin couples suing the school district was forced to withdraw their 12-year-old daughter from the district to protect her mental health and preserve their parental role. The school district violated their constitutionally protected parental rights by using a male name and male pronouns to address their daughter at school without their consent and over their objections. Additionally, another couple has joined the lawsuit against the district to make sure the same thing doesn’t happen to their children.

“Parents’ rights to direct the upbringing, education, and mental health treatment of their children is one of the most basic constitutional rights every parent holds dear. Yet we are seeing more and more school districts across the country not only ignoring parents’ concerns, but actively working against them,” said ADF Senior Counsel Kate Anderson, director of the ADF Center for Parental Rights. “The parents in this case know and love their daughter and are doing their best to get her the expert care she needs in her battle with anxiety and depression. We are asking the court to respect the serious concerns of these parents by ensuring Kettle Moraine School District swiftly changes its policy that is undermining parents and harming children.”

ADF attorneys serve as co-counsel for the two families along with WILL Deputy Counsel Luke Berg, who is lead counsel for this case.

“Schools cannot override parents when it comes to decisions about their children. Students’ decisions about what names and genders pronouns they prefer are no exception,” said Berg. “Schools must defer to parents about what is best for their child.”

Before filing the lawsuit, B.F. v. Kettle Moraine School District, in the Waukesha County Circuit Court, attorneys from WILL and ADF wrote a letter to the school district expressing the concerns of their clients and asking it to change its policy to require parental consent before school officials use a child’s preferred name or pronoun at school and to retrain its staff accordingly. The school district did not respond to the letter, leaving the parents with no choice but to file suit.

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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