School District Says Parents ‘Not Entitled’ to Know Their Kids’ Gender Identity

AP Photo/Denis Poroy

As if you needed more proof that progressives think your children belong to the state and not their parents, a Wisconsin school district recently told teachers that people are “not entitled” to know their kids’ gender identity.

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With all of the hubbub over Florida’s “Parental Rights in Education” bill, which the left deceptively refers to as the “Don’t Say Gay Bill,” stories like this remind us why such legislation might be necessary. Wisconsin Spotlight, a conservative, state-based publication from the Empower Wisconsin Foundation, reported on the content of a teacher’s training session given in the Eau Claire Area School District.

The 2021-2022 Equity session on Safe Spaces includes a slide telling educators that “parents are not entitled to know their kids’ identities,” and that such knowledge “must be earned.”

Wisconsin school district tells teachers that parents are not entitled to know anything about their children’s gender identity. (Credit: ECASD EDI Professional Development Session THREE Facilitator Guide)

The lesson also explained:

Teachers are often straddling this complex situation. In ECASD, our priority is supporting the student,” the professional development facilitator guide states. Teachers were encouraged to “Talk amongst yourselves!”

Naturally, parents weren’t exactly thrilled when they found out their school district encouraged teachers to conceal this type of information. In a joint statement, Nicole Everson, Corey Cronrath, and Melissa Winter issued a joint statement:

We are appalled that ECASD would display such blatant disregard for the parents and guardians of our community’s children. We are equally dismayed that current school district leadership would pressure teachers into breaking a social contract that we all know and understand—that parents and guardians hold primary responsibility and decision making for the welfare and care of their children.

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This is not the first time the district has garnered criticism for its approach to gender issues. Last week, controversy erupted after a staffer with Eau Claire North High School put up a poster that read: “If your parents aren’t accepting of your identity, I’m your mom now. #freemomhugs.”

Parents stated other copies of the posters were featured on the doors of other teachers’ classrooms.

Here is a picture of the sign:

Wisconsin teacher posts signs undermining parents of students with gender dysphoria. Credit: DefendingEd/Twitter

Wisconsin Spotlight also pointed out that this particular training session is “legally suspect.” The author wrote:

A district court in 2020 issued a partial injunction against Madison Metropolitan School District’s policy allowing children of any age to transition to a different gender identity at school — without parental consent. The full case is now before the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) and the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) filed the lawsuit on behalf of a group of parents challenging the gender identity policy “that violates the rights of parents to make important healthcare decisions on their children’s behalf.”

The policy being challenged allows children of any age to “transition to a different gender identity at school, by changing their name and pronouns, without parental notice or consent.”

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It also prohibits district employees from “notifying parents, without the child’s consent” that their child wishes to alter their gender identity at school, or even that the student could be experiencing gender dysphoria.

The policy even goes so far as to require district employees to lie to parents by using their child’s legal name and pronouns while speaking with them or other family members, while using the alternate name adopted by the child while in a school setting.

ECASD Superintendent Michael Johnson defied parents’ objections by claiming the district is maintaining an environment that is “equitable, safe and inclusive for all students.” He said:

“Our staff often find themselves in positions of trust with our students. The staff development presentation shared extensive data and information to assist our staff members in our ongoing efforts to create a safe and supportive learning environment for all students.”

It is worth noting that while this type of approach is a growing problem, many districts are not employing this type of approach in their classrooms. Nevertheless, this scenario is playing out in school districts across the country, and it is occurring unbeknownst to parents whose kids are in these classrooms. As stated previously, this trend is indicative of the progressive belief that the state should be the primary decision-maker when it comes to educating children, while parents should play a secondary role.

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Erika Sanzi, Director of Outreach at Parents Defending Education, told RedState:

“It is unsettling to know that teachers are being trained to believe that parents are not entitled to information about their children. It is completely upside down for a school to say that parents must earn knowledge about their own children. The only reason schools have authority over children is because of parental consent. They can’t be working ‘in loco parentis’ while actively concealing information from parents.”

Wisconsin’s legislature passed its own Parental Bill of Rights, similar to that of Florida’s. However, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers will likely veto the proposal.

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