WILL’s Efforts Cause School District to Comply with the Law
The News: In a significant victory for parental rights and transparency, the Wrightstown Community School District (WCSD) has notified the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) that they will follow state law.
On November 6th and 13th, WCSD held committee meetings so the community of Wrightstown could review the Human Growth and Development (HGD) curriculum, which is essentially the sex education curriculum in Wisconsin. The announcement from the school follows WILL’s effort to get the District to comply with state law, after parents notified us that the District was not in compliance.
The Quotes: WILL Associate Counsel, Lauren Greuel, stated, “Parents deserve a voice and have an undeniable right to know what’s going on in their child’s classroom. It’s imperative that school districts follow the law and listen to their community, and WILL is proud to partner with parents across Wisconsin to ensure that they’re heard.”
Julie Sigmund, Parent and Wrightstown community member, stated, “The District admitted that they were breaking the law, yet for months continued to violate it and gatekept parents from important conversations happening in the classroom that could prompt parental involved conversations with their children. I’m grateful that WILL has prompted the District to take this step toward compliance with state law and rebuilding trust within the whole community—parents, teachers, district residents and school board members.”
Additional Background: In a letter to the school district in late September, WILL asked that WCSD quickly appoint an advisory committee that meets statutory requirements. We also demanded that the District comply with the parental notice requirement, so that parents receive an accurate outline of HGD curriculum, information about how they can inspect the complete curriculum, and notice that they may opt their children out. Without this, parents are unable to make an informed decision about whether or not to exempt their children from HGD instruction.
Per our request, the District provided a substantive response to this letter by the end of October, including a timeline in which the District promised to comply. Meetings to review HGD curriculum were held on November 6th and 13th.
Wisconsin Statute section 118.019 governs human growth and development instruction. Public school districts are not required to adopt a HGD curriculum, but once they do, certain requirements are triggered. For instance, schools are required to provide parental notice and an opportunity to opt their children out of HGD instruction. State law also specifically mandates that a committee made up of different sectors of the local community review the curriculum and discuss what curriculum is appropriate based on community standards. The committee then advises the school board on the design and implementation of the HGD curriculum. This creates a way for community members to get involved and understand some of the decisions being made on a highly sensitive topic. This goes toward the purpose of the statute being to foster partnership between parents and students.
The school district previously admitted they were not in compliance with the committee requirement, even after at least one parent made the district aware of it in February of 2022. WILL is glad to see steps being taken in the right direction so that the district becomes in compliance with state law.