The News: The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) and Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) presented arguments today in a summary judgment hearing regarding a prominent parental rights suit against the Kettle Moraine School District (KMSD). WILL and ADF have been fighting this case since 2021.
The Quotes: WILL Deputy Counsel, Luke Berg, stated, “Parents have a constitutional right to make the best decision on behalf of their child, especially when it deals with a potentially life-altering decision. KMSD’s policy denies that right while simultaneously flouting the qualified medical perspectives provided by WILL’s and ADF’s expert witnesses, Dr. Erica Anderson and Dr. Stephen Levine.”
Kate Anderson, Senior Counsel and Director of the Center for Parental Rights at Alliance Defending Freedom, stated, “Parents have a fundamental right to direct the upbringing of their children, but the Kettle Moraine School District completely pushed parents aside when school officials insisted on pushing their own radical ideology in the classroom. Our client knows and loves her daughter better than any school official, and the school’s decision to treat this student as the opposite sex despite her parent’s wishes was a blatant violation of parental rights. We are hopeful the court will right this wrong and recognize that parents’ rights don’t end at the schoolhouse gate.”
The Background: In a lawsuit filed in November 2021, WILL and ADF contended that a Kettle Moraine School District’s policy of treating minor students as the opposite sex at school without parental consent, and even over their objection, violated parents’ constitutional rights. This policy enables school staff to take a major, controversial, and potentially life-altering decision out of parents’ hands. The lawsuit was filed in Waukesha County Circuit Court.
The Wisconsin (and United States) Constitution recognizes the “inherent right” of parents to “direct the upbringing and education of children under their control.” This means that parents are the primary decision-makers with respect to their minor children. But KMSD adopted a policy that disregards parents’ decisions about how their children will be addressed at school.
Two Kettle Moraine School District parents encountered this policy and were forced to withdraw their daughter from the district because of it. Their daughter began to question her gender in December 2020, and, for a time, wanted to go by a male name and pronouns while at school. The family sought professional and medical support for her, and after extensive research decided that immediately treating her as a boy would not be in her best interest. The parents communicated their decision to District staff, but the District refused to respect their decision—forcing them to withdraw her from the school. Just a few weeks later, their daughter realized her parents were right, and expressed that the “affirmation” that she was a boy “really messed her up.”