In Iowa, a watchdog group focused on protecting parents’ rights in education filed a lawsuit against a school district that has been accused of deliberately hiding students’ “gender transitions” from their parents.
As reported by The Daily Wire, the group Parents Defending Education (PDE) has sued the Linn-Mar Community School District over its policy of “gender support plans,” which was kept a secret from parents of students in the district’s schools. The lawsuit was filed on Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa.
“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 reads in part. With its gender policy, the district is “flouting both of these constitutional guarantees,” and allowing students to make “fundamentally important decisions concerning their gender identity without any parental involvement, and to then hide these decisions from their parents.”
Under the district’s policy, which is formally known as the “Transgender and Students Nonconforming to Gender Role Stereotypes,” children as young as 12 can work with the school to create their own “gender support plan.”
“Any student in seventh grade or older will have priority of their support plan over their parent/guardian,” the policy explicitly states. “The district shall not disclose information that may reveal a student’s transgender status to others, including but not limited to other students, parents, and school staff unless legally required to do so (such as national standardized testing, drivers permits, transcripts, etc.), or unless the student has authorized such disclosure.”
Crucially, the district notes that all gender support plans will be filed under a student’s “temporary records,” rather than their permanent records, so that they may eventually be disposed of. PDE argued that the district intentionally made this particular adjustment in order to ensure that “records related to the gender support plan will never be accessible to parents,” as permanent documents can be obtained under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
“Linn-Mar’s gender policy demonstrates a deep contempt for the constitutional rights of its students and families,” said Nicole Neily, the President of PDE. “It has been clearly established by the federal court system over the past 100 years that parents have a right to direct the upbringing of their children, and we are proud to fight on behalf of our members to put a stop to these unconstitutional policies.”