The National Legal Foundation and several other organizations filed a friend of the court brief last week in the Wisconsin Supreme Court in support of parental rights to know when public schools are treating their children as transgender. The Madison school district published a policy—similar to the one in Montgomery County, Maryland, that NLF is currently challenging and to others springing up around the country—that hides this from parents if the child, along with school personnel, believe it would not be “safe” to tell parents because they might not be “supportive” of the transition.
This is a wholesale repudiation of parental rights and responsibilities protected by the federal and state constitutions, the common law, and state laws. NLF in its brief made two major points supplementing the briefs of the main parties. First, all concede that parents have the right to take their kids out of public schools if they desire and to home school them or send them to a private school. To exercise that right, parents have to know how the schools are treating their children on matters as serious as this.
Second, all states, including Wisconsin, have procedures in place, as required constitutionally, that provide parents due process protections, including notice and hearing, if they are to be deprived of their parental rights due to “abuse” or “neglect.” Policies such as that of the Madison schools basically let school officials become judge and jury and silently strip parents of their responsibilities. That not only violates the law, but also common sense. As stated in the brief,
“School personnel (who have undoubtedly in almost all cases spent much less time with the child than the parents have) have no right to withhold from parents—in their sole discretion and on remarkably insufficient information and based on their supposition about what the parental response might be—that their child is exhibiting as transgender in school. It is parents that the law presumes know their own children best and are best positioned and motivated to protect and counsel them. It is parents who are given the primary right to care for their child, not school counselors, teachers, or principals.”
A decision by the Wisconsin Supreme Court is expected later this year.