Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Bad "Parents Rights" groups lose court challenges against Transgender Student Policies!

The irresponsible "Parental Rights" movement, where bad parents try to foist off their inability to guide and communicate with their children to schools and teachers, continues. 

Seriously, if a parent doesn't even notice their own kid's behavior enough to just ask, why is this a school problem? 

Here's the latest from EdWeek, a subscription-based publication (my last free article of the month):

Over the last three years, parents in at least six states have sued school districts over policies the districts say support transgender, gender nonconforming, and nonbinary students … claim that their 14th Amendment rights to direct the upbringing of their children are violated when schools do not inform them of their children’s pronouns or names, or aid in their social transition at school in any other way.

None of the parents suing schools over this issue have won a legal argument against a school district yet. Two cases have been dismissed after judges ruled that the school districts did not violate any laws. In two other cases, parents have appealed the court’s decision and the final verdict is pending. The latest case was filed last month, and no further action has been taken so far. So far, no school district that was sued has walked back its policies.

Chris Erchull, an attorney for GLAD, a legal organization that defends LGBTQ+ rights: GLAD has filed amicus briefs in support of school districts’ transgender student policies, supporting lawsuit dismissals, in four of the six cases.

However, these cases are a part of a national effort to restrict the rights of transgender students. For example, Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian legal advocacy group, has been involved in multiple pronoun lawsuits. “What we’re seeing right now is an effort to single out one aspect of student identity development for its special scrutiny and special surveillance and special reporting requirements,” Erchull said. “What we see as a theme that ties all this together, is that it’s about targeting transgender youth and preventing them from having access to the education that they need, to the health care they need, to everything else they need to be to thrive and to be successful as they as they grow into adults.”

Here’s a roundup of some pronoun-related cases in six states, and where they stand.

Judge dismisses lawsuit challenging transgender student policy in Wisconsin school district, appeal filed

In February 2020, a few parents anonymously sued the Madison Metropolitan School District in Wisconsin, alleging that the school district’s transgender and nonbinary student policy violates parental rights by allowing students to use names and pronouns at school different from those they were assigned at birth, without providing parental notification absent a student’s consent.

This appeared to be the first lawsuit of its kind, soon followed by others across the country.

The district’s policy states that “students will be called by their affirmed name and pronouns regardless of parent/guardian permission to change their name and gender in MMSD systems.” However, to change their affirmed name and pronouns in the district-wide student system, students need the permission of one parent or legal guardian, according to the policy.

The parents who sued asked to keep their names entirely confidential, which was not permitted based on a decision by the appeals court. The Wisconsin Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals to require the parents to disclose their identities to opposing attorneys, while allowing them to keep their names sealed and confidential from the public and the district.

The parents also sought a temporary injunction to make the district stop enforcing its transgender policy, which was denied. Last November, a judge dismissed the case, ruling that the sole remaining plaintiff after the request for anonymity was rejected did not have standing because the child’s hypothetical chances of changing their name and pronouns without informing the plaintiff were too remote to justify any judicial intervention, according to the judge’s opinion. The plaintiff has filed an appeal of that dismissal.

Maryland school district triumphs as judge rejects lawsuit on gender identity guidelines

In 2022, three parents anonymously filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court objecting to the Montgomery County, Md., district’s guidelines for student gender identity, saying it violated their constitutional rights as parents.

Last August, U.S. District Judge Paul Grimm ruled in favor of the district and threw out the lawsuit. The Maryland decision marked the first ruling of its kind amid half a dozen similar lawsuits. In that case, the judge not only ruled in favor of the district, but also called its guidelines necessary and flexible.

However, a panel of conservative U.S. appeals court judges may revive the legal challenge, Reuters reported in March.


The following story is shocking in what it might allow teachers to claim in the future, and eventually be broadened to include other topics. They're asking that their "free speech" rights be allowed to trample on other students' speech rights, which is what the courts are supposed to protect against. 

Court dismisses parents’ claims, but teachers’ lawsuit continues against Virginia school district

Six parents and teachers sued Harrisonburg City Public Schools last year over its gender identity policy, which requires teachers to ask students for their preferred names and pronouns and then use them. The teachers alleged that the district violated their state constitutional rights by “compelling speech with which teachers strongly disagree. They also claimed that the district violated their free speech rights by forcing them to withhold “medical information” from parents.

A judge dismissed the parents’ part of the lawsuit, but not the teachers’ claims, according to the Harrisonburg Citizen. Teachers and staff will not face disciplinary measures if they do not use a student’s preferred name or pronoun or for sharing (or withholding) that information with parents, the judge’s opinion noted.

New Hampshire Supreme Court hears arguments in appeal of parents’ lawsuit over notification policy

In April 2023, Judge Amy Messer dismissed a lawsuit filed by a mother against Manchester city schools over its policy that prevents officials from informing parents about their child’s social transition without the student’s permission.

The superior court judge determined that the protocol did not infringe on parents’ rights, and the district had a right to enact these kinds of policies to protect all students from discrimination, Messer wrote in her ruling dismissing the suit.

“While the defendants concede that the plaintiff has a fundamental right to raise her child as she wishes, they assert that the plaintiff’s right to parent does not include the ability to direct how the school teaches her child,” Messer wrote. “The court rejects the plaintiff’s argument that the policy violates her fundamental right to parent.”

Maine school district faces parent lawsuit for providing chest binder to student

Earlier this year, a Maine mom sued the Great Salt Bay Community School for allegedly violating her parental rights after a school counselor gave her child a chest binder, which is a garment worn to flatten breasts.

School counselors and staff were also using the student’s chosen name and pronouns without informing the parent, according to the lawsuit.

The district received three bomb threats because of the parent’s complaints at a school board meeting, according to communication sent by school and district leaders. It has continued to defend its transgender student policy.

This is the latest in a series of cases about transgender rights policies, however, in this case, the parent’s lawyers in this case said they’re solely focused on parental rights, and not on whether schools should support transgender students.