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A group of parents and teachers in Virginia, represented by attorneys from Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), filed a lawsuit against a school district for withholding parents’ right to choose their children’s education and imposing gender ideology on teachers and staff.
According to information from ADF, the school district’s policy urges staff to use preferred pronouns at the request of students, and prohibits employees and educators from sharing information regarding their children’s sexual identity with parents and legal guardians.
After sending a letter to the Harrisonburg City Public School Board stating that its policy of withholding information regarding students’ sexuality from parents is unconstitutional, ADF attorneys filed the lawsuit in Rockingham County Circuit Court.
“We write concerning Harrisonburg City Public Schools’ policy and practice to require all staff members to affirm any student’s gender dysphoria by using any name and pronoun the student requests, and while affirmatively hiding any requested change from the student’s parents,” the letter reads. “This policy and practice violates both the United States Constitution and the Virginia Constitution and should be rescinded immediately.”
Parents and teachers vs. school districts
The organization further noted that the school district put in place a “Gender Transition Action Plan” that would only involve parents and family members of students when deemed “appropriate” by the educational institution.
“Parents—not public schools or government officials—have the fundamental right to direct the upbringing, care, and education of their children,” ADF Senior Counsel Ryan Bangert said in a statement.
“Teachers and staff cannot willfully hide kids’ mental health information from their parents, especially as some of the decisions children are making at school have potentially life-altering ramifications,” Bangert continued. “As the clients we represent believe, a teacher’s role is to support, not supplant, the role of the parent.”
The lawsuit against the Harrisonburg school district is the third to trigger legal action in recent months over policies in Virginia schools that, according to ADF, violate the law and parents’ rights. Similar situations have arisen in Albemarle and Loudoun counties.
Other states are also filing lawsuits against school districts for violating the rights of parents and teachers. In Kansas, a high school teacher sued her district for forcing her to use preferred pronouns.
In Wisconsin, parent and teacher groups in the Madison and Kettle Moraine school districts have filled lawsuits for allowing minor students to change their names and pronouns at school without parental consent or knowledge.