Judge Issues Injunction: Madison School District Staff Cannot Lie or Deceive Parents About Gender Transitions at School

WILL sued MMSD for violating parental rights with gender identity policy

The News: Dane County Circuit Court Judge Frank Remington issued an injunction last week in a WILL parental rights lawsuit that forbids Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) employees from lying or deceiving parents about the gender identity that their child may have adopted at school. The lawsuit is ongoing, but the injunction goes into effect immediately as the case is under consideration.

The Quote: Deputy Counsel Luke Berg said, “We are pleased Judge Remington issued this injunction that will require honesty when Madison Metropolitan School District staff interact with parents about critical matters impacting their child’s health and wellbeing. This is an important win for parental rights as the court considers this matter.”

Background: On behalf of a group of Madison parents, WILL and Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) filed a lawsuit in Dane County Circuit Court against the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) in February 2020 for adopting and implementing policies that violate the rights of District parents. MMSD policies adopted in April 2018 enable children, of any age, to change their gender identity at school without parental notice or consent, and then directs District employees to conceal and even deceive parents about the gender identity their son or daughter has adopted at school. The Circuit Court’s injunction prevents District staff from lying to or deceiving parents if they directly ask about their child, including the name and pronouns their child is using at school.

WILL’s lawsuit also argues that the District may not enable a gender identity transition at school without parental notice and consent, but the Court declined to rule on that issue either way at this stage of the litigation. Still, the Court’s ruling sends a clear warning message to the District that its policy is problematic, and that parents can expect transparency and honesty from teachers and District staff about their children.

WILL issued a demand letter to the school district on December 18, urging the MMSD to update and amend the above policies to avoid a lawsuit. MMSD responded on January 31, that there would be no update to district policies. WILL filed a lawsuit in Dane County Circuit Court in February 2020.

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