16 states AGs press SCOTUS to take up case about schools covertly transitioning children

Jul 9, 2024 | U.S. | 0 comments

Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares (R) and 15 other attorneys general have filed an amicus brief on behalf of their respective states asking that the U.S. Supreme Court take up a case regarding schools’ covert efforts to transition children into sexually-confused transvestites behind their parents’ backs.

“Parents have the right to be involved in major decisions affecting their children’s lives. This case presents an opportunity for the U.S. Supreme Court to provide much-needed clarity and reaffirm that government officials cannot override parents’ fundamental rights simply because they believe they know better,” Miyares
said in a statement.

Background

A group of parents in Wisconsin sued the Eau Claire Area School District in 2022 over the
guidance it provided to schools and employees regarding how to handle students suffering from delusions about their gender.

The guidance, which was
confirmed by a district spokesperson at the time, noted that some “transgender, non-binary, and/or gender-nonconforming students are not ‘open’ at home for reasons that may include safety concerns or lack of acceptance.”

Accordingly, school personnel were instructed to first discuss the matter with the student before considering discussing the matter with the student’s parents.

The parents’
complaint claimed that the policy “mandates that schools and teachers hide critical information regarding a child’s health from his or her parents and to take action specifically designed to alter the child’s mental and physical well-being. Specifically, the Policy allows and requires District staff to treat a child as if he or she is the opposite sex, by changing the child’s name, pronouns, and intimate facility use, all without the parents’ knowledge or consent.”

Teachers were apparently further
instructed that “parents are not entitled to know their kids’ identities” and that such “knowledge must be earned.”

Educators in the district evidently took the guidance to heart, in one case textually informing students, “If your parents aren’t accepting of your identity, I’m your mom now.”

“The obvious purpose of such secrecy is to prevent parents from making critical decisions for their own minor children, from interfering with the school’s ideologically-driven activities, from caring for their children, or from freely practicing their religion,” read the parents’ complaint. “The insidious invasion of parental rights at issue in this case cannot be tolerated by a free people who value liberty.”

The plaintiffs, represented by the firms America First Legal and the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, claimed the district had violated their fundamental parental rights both under the 14th Amendment and under Article 1, Section 1 of the Wisconsin Constitution, along with their constitutionally-protected religious freedom.

Stephen Miller, president of America First Legal,
stressed at the outset “Eau Claire schools have adopted a monstrous plan to secretly ‘change’ the genders of children as young as 5 — without parental consent — effectively subjecting them to unnatural ideological experiments contrary to their health and biology.”

Setback

The case,
Parents Protecting Our Children, UA v. Eau Claire Area School District, was kicked up through the courts to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

The appellate court
ruled on March 7 that the district court was right to dismiss the parents’ complaint “for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.”

The court wrote that “Parents Protecting is clear that their members harbor genuine concerns about possible applications of the School District’s policy. Unless that policy operates to impose an injury or to create an imminent risk of injury, however — a worry that may never come to pass — the association’s concerns do not establish standing to sue and thus do not create a Case or Controversy. The district court had no choice but to dismiss the challenge for lack of Article III subject matter jurisdiction.”

To the high court

Last month, the AFL and WILL
filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the Supreme Court, stressing that the plaintiff and petitioner in the case — an association of parents who have children in the district — are both subject to the offending policy and directly harmed by it, contrary the conclusion reached by the district and appellate courts.

The petition posed the following question: “When a school district adopts an explicit policy to usurp parental decision- making authority over a major health-related decision — and to conceal this from the parents — do parents who are subject to such a policy have standing to challenge it?”

‘Government officials cannot interfere with this right — ‘perhaps the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests recognized by’ this Court — just because the government officials believe that they know better.’

According to the petition, parents are injured in multiple ways, including by the loss of their exclusive decision-making authority over whether a sex-change transition is in their kid’s best interest; by their inability to obtain information to which they are entitled, which is a “cognizable ‘injury in fact’ for purposes of Article III standing”; and by the strain placed on the parent-child relationship introduced by the policy’s student-facing invitation to keep secrets from their parents.

It indicates also that the “policy facially deprives Petitioner’s members of their statutory rights, which presently harms them by making it impossible for them to withhold consent from the application of the Gender Support Plan process to their children. The denial of this right to information, protected by the Constitution and by statute, constitutes concrete harm under
Spokeo, Public Citizen, and Akins.”

The amicus brief

The attorneys general for Virginia, Florida, Georgia, Texas, and a dozen other states filed an
amicus brief in support of the parents in the case, stressing they too have a “compelling interest in protecting parents’ fundamental right to make decisions about ‘the care, custody, and control of their children.'”

“This case presents the opportunity for this Court to reiterate that government officials cannot interfere with this right — ‘perhaps the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests recognized by’ this Court — just because the government officials believe that they know better,” said the brief.

The brief noted that Article III’s standing requirement comes down to answering the basic question, “What’s it to you?” and that the “answer in this case is plain”: Parents have an interest in making decisions about their children and the interference by school officials clearly amounts to injury.

It further emphasized that “[s]chool districts have no interest, compelling or otherwise, in wholesale concealment of children’s gender transitions from parents, absent any evidence of abuse or neglect. ‘Simply because the decision of a parent is not agreeable to a child or because it involves risks does not automatically transfer the power to make that decision from the parents to some agency or officer of the state.'”

Virginia AG Miyares added in a statement, “It is essential that schools work with parents, not against them, to support a child’s wellbeing.”

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Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares (R) and 15 other attorneys general have filed an amicus brief on behalf of their respective states asking that the U.S. Supreme Court take up a case regarding schools’ covert efforts to transition children into sexually-confused transvestites behind their parents’ backs.

“Parents have the right to be involved in major decisions affecting their children’s lives. This case presents an opportunity for the U.S. Supreme Court to provide much-needed clarity and reaffirm that government officials cannot override parents’ fundamental rights simply because they believe they know better,” Miyares
said in a statement.

Background

A group of parents in Wisconsin sued the Eau Claire Area School District in 2022 over the
guidance it provided to schools and employees regarding how to handle students suffering from delusions about their gender.

The guidance, which was
confirmed by a district spokesperson at the time, noted that some “transgender, non-binary, and/or gender-nonconforming students are not ‘open’ at home for reasons that may include safety concerns or lack of acceptance.”

Accordingly, school personnel were instructed to first discuss the matter with the student before considering discussing the matter with the student’s parents.

The parents’
complaint claimed that the policy “mandates that schools and teachers hide critical information regarding a child’s health from his or her parents and to take action specifically designed to alter the child’s mental and physical well-being. Specifically, the Policy allows and requires District staff to treat a child as if he or she is the opposite sex, by changing the child’s name, pronouns, and intimate facility use, all without the parents’ knowledge or consent.”

Teachers were apparently further
instructed that “parents are not entitled to know their kids’ identities” and that such “knowledge must be earned.”

Educators in the district evidently took the guidance to heart, in one case textually informing students, “If your parents aren’t accepting of your identity, I’m your mom now.”

“The obvious purpose of such secrecy is to prevent parents from making critical decisions for their own minor children, from interfering with the school’s ideologically-driven activities, from caring for their children, or from freely practicing their religion,” read the parents’ complaint. “The insidious invasion of parental rights at issue in this case cannot be tolerated by a free people who value liberty.”

The plaintiffs, represented by the firms America First Legal and the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, claimed the district had violated their fundamental parental rights both under the 14th Amendment and under Article 1, Section 1 of the Wisconsin Constitution, along with their constitutionally-protected religious freedom.

Stephen Miller, president of America First Legal,
stressed at the outset “Eau Claire schools have adopted a monstrous plan to secretly ‘change’ the genders of children as young as 5 — without parental consent — effectively subjecting them to unnatural ideological experiments contrary to their health and biology.”
Setback

The case,
Parents Protecting Our Children, UA v. Eau Claire Area School District, was kicked up through the courts to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

The appellate court
ruled on March 7 that the district court was right to dismiss the parents’ complaint “for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.”

The court wrote that “Parents Protecting is clear that their members harbor genuine concerns about possible applications of the School District’s policy. Unless that policy operates to impose an injury or to create an imminent risk of injury, however — a worry that may never come to pass — the association’s concerns do not establish standing to sue and thus do not create a Case or Controversy. The district court had no choice but to dismiss the challenge for lack of Article III subject matter jurisdiction.”
To the high court
Last month, the AFL and WILL
filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the Supreme Court, stressing that the plaintiff and petitioner in the case — an association of parents who have children in the district — are both subject to the offending policy and directly harmed by it, contrary the conclusion reached by the district and appellate courts.

The petition posed the following question: “When a school district adopts an explicit policy to usurp parental decision- making authority over a major health-related decision — and to conceal this from the parents — do parents who are subject to such a policy have standing to challenge it?”

‘Government officials cannot interfere with this right — ‘perhaps the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests recognized by’ this Court — just because the government officials believe that they know better.’

According to the petition, parents are injured in multiple ways, including by the loss of their exclusive decision-making authority over whether a sex-change transition is in their kid’s best interest; by their inability to obtain information to which they are entitled, which is a “cognizable ‘injury in fact’ for purposes of Article III standing”; and by the strain placed on the parent-child relationship introduced by the policy’s student-facing invitation to keep secrets from their parents.

It indicates also that the “policy facially deprives Petitioner’s members of their statutory rights, which presently harms them by making it impossible for them to withhold consent from the application of the Gender Support Plan process to their children. The denial of this right to information, protected by the Constitution and by statute, constitutes concrete harm under
Spokeo, Public Citizen, and Akins.”
The amicus brief

The attorneys general for Virginia, Florida, Georgia, Texas, and a dozen other states filed an
amicus brief in support of the parents in the case, stressing they too have a “compelling interest in protecting parents’ fundamental right to make decisions about ‘the care, custody, and control of their children.'”

“This case presents the opportunity for this Court to reiterate that government officials cannot interfere with this right — ‘perhaps the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests recognized by’ this Court — just because the government officials believe that they know better,” said the brief.

The brief noted that Article III’s standing requirement comes down to answering the basic question, “What’s it to you?” and that the “answer in this case is plain”: Parents have an interest in making decisions about their children and the interference by school officials clearly amounts to injury.

It further emphasized that “[s]chool districts have no interest, compelling or otherwise, in wholesale concealment of children’s gender transitions from parents, absent any evidence of abuse or neglect. ‘Simply because the decision of a parent is not agreeable to a child or because it involves risks does not automatically transfer the power to make that decision from the parents to some agency or officer of the state.'”

Virginia AG Miyares added in a statement, “It is essential that schools work with parents, not against them, to support a child’s wellbeing.”

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