Statement read aloud to students in several classrooms concealed from parents by Eau Claire Area School District
The News: A local parent, along with the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL), have filed a complaint with a judge in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, after the school refused to provide a copy of a statement that the district acknowledges was read aloud to students in several classrooms.
Parents from the Eau Claire Area School District are simply asking what was read to their children, and they have so far been kept in the dark. Both WILL and our client requested a copy of the script read to students under our state open records law.
The Quotes: WILL Associate Counsel, Cory Brewer, stated, “It’s ridiculous for a school district to refuse to produce a statement that was read out loud to dozens of minor students in several district classrooms. What was told to these kids should be readily accessible to parents.”
Leah Buchman, Eau Claire parent and plaintiff, stated, “All I am asking is for the school district to provide what was told to my children and their peers in the classroom. As a parent, it’s my responsibility to help my kids understand all that life throws their way, and I do not understand why it has taken the school district so long to update parents.”
Background: On the morning of June 5, 2023, the second-to-last day of the school year, all orchestra students at Northstar Middle School were required to report to the orchestra room during homeroom. Once there, they found orchestra teacher Jacob Puccio, a school counselor, and the District’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion director, Dang Yang.
Students were told that Puccio would be undergoing a gender transition from male to female. In addition, a scripted statement was read to multiple classes of elementary and high school music students in the district, including North High School and at least three elementary schools (Sam Davey Elementary, Locust Lane Elementary, and Northwoods Elementary). The statement was crafted by the District specifically to ensure that students received information in a particular way, but to date, parents have no details about what their children were told.
After these statements were read, Leah Buchman, who has children both in the middle school orchestra and high school band, requested a copy of the script. That request was denied, with the District’s attorney claiming that the document could not be disclosed because an investigation was underway into whether any “employee acted improperly with respect to the June 6 [sic] events.” WILL has since sent a public records request asking only for the script read to the high school band class.
WILL Seeking Answers for Weeks: WILL’s request for the statement was denied, and the District provided the same reasoning for the denial. Unfortunately, this “investigation” appears to have not even started yet, and given that the event occurred over a month ago, this raises a question of whether the District is simply stonewalling to prevent the release of this information to parents.
Read More Here:
- Complaint, July 25, 2023