- The Washington Times - Monday, July 8, 2024

A group of red states is asking the Supreme Court to take up a dispute over a school policy that prevents officials from disclosing to parents their child’s gender preference — including a change of name or pronouns — while at school.

Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares led a group of 15 other Republican-led states in urging the justices to take up the case of Parents Protecting Our Children v. Eau Claire Area School District in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had dismissed the parents’ lawsuit over the Wisconsin school policy, reasoning none of the parents could show they had been directly injured by it.

The states, though, told the court that the justices should take up the appeal because any school interference with parental rights is an injury.

“Parents have a deep and abiding interest in their right to ‘make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children,’” their brief read. “When school officials interfere with that right, the parents are injured.”

Other states signing on with Virginia are West Virginia, South Dakota, Utah, Texas, Oklahoma, North Dakota, South Carolina, Montana, Nebraska, Louisiana, Missouri, Georgia, Idaho, Alaska and Florida.

“The parent-child relationship is directly harmed when a school district tells minor students that secrets from their parents—including an entire double life at school— are not only acceptable, but will be facilitated by the District,” the states’ brief said. “Parents, not administrators, have the responsibility and right to raise their children.”

The case came to the justices after Eau Claire Area School District implemented a policy in 2021 that allowed students to change their gender identity without parental consent, “meaning that students could change names, pronouns, and which locker room and bathroom they use—all without their parents’ knowledge,” according to court documents.

Mr. Miyares said it is essential for a student’s well-being for schools to work with parents rather than against them.

“Parents have the right to be involved in major decisions affecting their children’s lives. This case presents an opportunity for the U.S. Supreme Court to provide much-needed clarity and reaffirm that government officials cannot override parents’ fundamental rights simply because they believe they know better,” said Mr. Miyares.

It would take four justices to vote in favor of hearing the case for oral arguments to be scheduled during the court’s next term, which begins in October.

A spokesperson from the school district did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

• Alex Swoyer can be reached at aswoyer@washingtontimes.com.

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