Huge Parental Rights Victory

( – A decision this week from a Wisconsin judge concluded that the Kettle Moraine School District cannot proceed with the social gender transition of students without obtaining parental approval, marking a huge victory in the legal debate surrounding parental rights within the educational setting.

Circuit Judge Michael P. Maxwell of Waukesha County ruled that children grappling with their gender identity is definitively a matter of “medical and healthcare.” Hence, he barred the Kettle Moraine School District from instructing or permitting its staff to address students using names or pronouns that conflict with their biological sex during school hours unless they have explicit permission from the parents.

This ruling has its roots in a legal complaint initiated in November 2021. Parents of a middle school girl who was undergoing a gender identity crisis challenged the school district’s decision to ignore their request to address their daughter using her given name and as a female.

In their defense, the district held that parents do not inherently possess the right to dictate the educational approach toward their child. However, Judge Maxwell sided with the plaintiffs and two medical specialists, emphasizing that the concern is related to medical intervention rather than educational methodologies.

In his decision, Maxwell highlighted, “Of particular importance to note is that both doctors agree that living a ‘double life’ where a child’s gender roles are different at home and at school is ‘inherently psychologically unhealthy’ and can undermine existing support structures for that child.” Consequently, he awarded summary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs.

Describing the outcome as a “major win” for parental rights, Luke Berg from the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty remarked, “Our hope is that this will be the first of many, and we’ll start to see a lot more wins and see the tide beginning to shift on some of these policies around the country.” This organization, along with Alliance Defending Freedom, represented the plaintiffs.

The Kettle Moraine district’s superintendent, Stephen Plum, conveyed, “We respect the rights of parents and continue to require written parental consent if and when using a student’s name or pronouns at odds with the student’s sex at birth.”

Tammy Fournier, the mother of 14-year-old Autumn, central to this case, expressed gratitude towards the judge’s decision. The National Review had previously covered the Fourniers’ situation in April 2022, albeit Tammy Fournier’s identity was concealed.

In mid-December 2020, Autumn disclosed to her mother her feelings of disconnect with her female identity, having previously faced anxiety and depression. Tammy arranged for her daughter’s stay at a mental health institution the following day. There, the professionals promptly addressed Autumn as male, prompting the Fourniers to adopt a similar approach and suggesting medical treatment for her.

However, Tammy harbored reservations regarding the depth of the institution’s assessment of Autumn’s mental state. She adamantly declined to recognize her daughter as male until a comprehensive mental evaluation was undertaken.

During this period, Tammy remained in touch with the school’s administration. Days before Autumn’s anticipated return to school, she communicated her wish for the school to use Autumn’s birth name and female pronouns. The principal later conveyed that they would adhere to Autumn’s preference if she wished to be identified as male.

Following this, the Fourniers opted not to send Autumn back to that school. Autumn has since disassociated with the male identity.