School brings in measures to support trans students. Parents respond by suing the school
A Conservative parental group is suing a school in Iowa, US, for policies put in place to protect trans students from discrimination.
The Linn-Mar Community School District voted to facilitate a gender support plan on 25 April 2022 that requires members of staff and students to address students by their self-assigned name and gender identity.
But the Parents Defending Education (PDE) group filed a lawsuit against the policy because it believes withholding details of the student’s support plan from their parents “violates parents’ rights.”
The group is known for its attempts to ban LGBTQ+ books from schools and for partnering with the anti-LGBTQ+ group, Moms for Liberty.
If the lawsuit is successful, it would effectively gut the district’s ability to support transgender youth.
It claims “parents are completely and purposefully left in the dark” and because parents are notified by the school on what they consider “lesser matters”, it has a duty to inform parents about a child’s gender identity.
The lawsuit also states the policy violates the fourteenth amendment, which says “no state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States”.
Parents fear LGBTQ+ posters on walls
“Nearly a century of Supreme Court precedent makes two things clear: parents have a constitutional liberty interest in the care, custody, and control of their children, and students do not abandon their First Amendment rights at the schoolhouse gate,” the lawsuit continues.
It then detailed that one of the parents’ fears that their child – who is on the autism spectrum – would be put on a gender support plan due to a “difficulty distinguishing between male and female characteristics”, claiming that the school would pressure them to identify as trans or non-binary.
Another believes that their daughter would be convinced by pro-LGBTQ+ teachers and LGBTQ+ positive affirmation to identify as gender-diverse in some capacity, according to LGBTQNation.
“Some of Parent B’s daughter’s special-needs classes are held in a classroom that also functions as the meeting location for the LGBT student club,” the lawsuit states.
“The teacher in that classroom is the faculty advisor for the club. Thus, the classroom walls contain several posters with information about various gender identities, gender ‘social transitions,’ and ‘preferred pronouns’. Parent B’s daughter is extremely impressionable and often follows the lead of other students.”
PDE president Nicole Neily said that the school demonstrates a “deep contempt” for what the group claims are the “constitutional rights” of parents to “direct the upbringing of their children”.
“We are proud to fight on behalf of our members to put a stop to these unconstitutional policies,” Neily continued.
Trans youth in the US have come under increased scrutiny over the past few years, with both gender-affirming documentation and medical care being scrutinised by anti-LGBTQ+ groups and politicians.
Most notably is Florida Republican Ron DeSantis’ campaign against gender-affirming healthcare for trans youth, including a demand by the administration to bar young trans people from accessing care outright.
A letter was filed urging the state board to block trans-youth affirming healthcare under so-called “guidance” issues by the Florida Department of Health that suggested under-18s should not even be allowed to “socially transition”.