A school in Wisconsin has abruptly dropped what critics suggested was a stealth plan for a promotion about transgenderism after parents objected – and called in a team of lawyers to help them fight off a plan that was being sprung on them with only a day’s notice.
The decision was made by the Mount Horeb Elementary School in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin, to withdraw plans to promote the pro-transgenderism book “I Am Jazz” to grade-school students after school officials were warned by officials with Liberty Counsel that the district’s claim it had a student with a “girl brain and a boy body” was “completely at odds with the rationale for equality between the sexes: there is no difference between male and female brains or mental abilities, and this idea fosters gender stereotypes.”
Further, the team of lawyers at Liberty Counsel told the district its plan to support a student with gender confusion by requiring students to call a boy “her” and “she” … “infringes upon the other students’ rights to tell the truth, in accordance with their religious convictions, and reality.”
“No one has a moral right to compel others to participate in a fiction (including compelling teachers and others to use pronouns that do not correspond to objective biological sex),” the letter from Liberty Counsel to the district said.
Officials with Liberty Counsel said an alert parent of a student at the Wisconsin elementary school told the organization about a notice from the school that officials planned to promote “I Am Jazz” by LGBT activist Jessica Herthel to young students.
“‘Jazz’ Jennings,” LC reported, “is a gender-confused male, who has been permitted to undergo harmful gender reassignment drug therapy and hormone blockers, resulting in permanent physical changes to his body.”
For grade school students, the attorneys explained, the book not only is misleading, but “is wholly inappropriate and disturbing.”
“Transgender education substitutes the beliefs of the principal and school psychologist for those of parents. Bringing transgender activism into schools undermines the privacy rights of students, the free speech rights of teachers who cannot in good conscience address a child by the opposite sex pronoun, and the religious rights of families,” the lawyers said.
They continued, “No credible medical authority establishes the proposition that biological sex can be changed. Dr. Paul McHugh, former chief psychiatrist for Johns Hopkins Hospital, wrote in a June 12, 2014, Wall Street Journal op-ed, ‘Policy makers and the media are doing no favors either to the public or the transgendered’ by refusing to treat transgender confusions ‘as a mental disorder that deserves understanding, treatment and prevention.’ While students suffering from gender confusion should be treated with kindness and respect, schools should not, by their policies or practices, attempt to coerce other students and teachers into participating in what amounts to a harmful delusion.”
LC attorney Richard L. Mast Jr. told school board President Mary Seidl, “The district is not free to override parental rights and religious beliefs by subjecting impressionable children to confusion about something as important as gender and sexuality. The reading of ‘I am Jazz’ and following discussions about gender confusion and sexuality are the first step toward remaking the moral beliefs of district students, which the district may not do.”
The situation developed when the parent contacted Liberty Counsel about the notification from the school that Principal Rachel Johnson, school psychologist Nicole Tepe and counselor Emily McKee planned to promote the transgender book.
They gave parents only one business day’s notice and Liberty Counsel said it appeared the move by the school was “designed to catch parents off-guard, to prevent them from opting their children out of this reading.”
The lawyers asked for the event to be canceled, and said that happened, but also that the district appeared to be ready to continue pursuing the teaching.
The book, Liberty Counsel said, “is a false and misleading book” and will harm students by promoting controversial assumptions about gender, “which is neither the right nor business of government schools to do.”
The plan also would substitute the beliefs of the school officials for those of parents, undermine modesty and privacy rights of students, under religious free exercise rights, and leave students confused.
Courts have approved restrictions on single-sex only facilities, the letter explained, and “Boys should leave a bathroom if a girl enters, and girls should leave a bathroom if a boy enters. Boys and girls should not be compelled to use facilities intended for private acts in the presence of those of the opposite sex.”
Liberty Counsel said its options included a federal lawsuit against “teachers and staff in their official and individual capacities for violation of parental rights.”