PDE Files Supreme Court Amicus Brief in Parents Protecting Our Children v. Eau Claire Area School District


School districts across the United States have seized from parents the right to direct the upbringing of their children and handed this authority to teachers and school administrators. PDE has identified 1,086 school districts in the United States with parental-exclusion policies. See List of School District Transgender-Gender Nonconforming Student Policies, PDE (last updated June 17, 2024). These districts cover 19,598 schools that educate 11,475,493 students.

Eau Claire’s policy, like other parental-exclusion policies PDE has identified, authorizes school officials to secretly effectuate the “gender transition” of a child without ever informing the parents, getting their input, or obtaining their consent. Put another way, Eau Claire permits school officials—not parents—to make fundamental decisions about a child, like letting the child use different pronouns, name, and bathroom.

Displacing parents on these key issues harms children and violates the Constitution. Social transitioning is no neutral act. It has aided the surge of minors receiving gender-dysphoria diagnoses across the country. Social transitioning, spurred by parental-exclusion policies, often leads to medical interventions. These interventions include puberty blockers, crosssex hormones, and sex-reassignment surgery—all of which are unproven and risky medical interventions with potentially irreversible effects on the child’s health and fertility. Society’s most vulnerable deserve far better than a school driving a wedge between children and their parents.

Parental-exclusion policies also violate parents’ constitutional rights. Parents’ interest “in the care, custody, and control of their childre[n] is perhaps the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests recognized by” the Supreme Court as protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57, 65 (2000) (plurality). And parents do not surrender these longstanding rights by sending their children to school. The doctrine of in loco parentis does not extend to fundamental decisions like those parental-exclusion policies invade. Especially when, as here, these policies have nothing to do with the school’s statemandated education missions.

No matter the scrutiny level, schools have no legitimate interest, let alone a compelling one, in secretly effectuating a child’s “gender transition” without any involvement from the child’s parents. Parental-exclusion policies are no “minor” or “everyday” matter, and schools’ attempts to trivialize them as such are remarkably wrong.

Finally, the harms from parental-exclusion policies are exacerbated by courts misinterpreting standing
doctrine. These courts, including the Seventh Circuit here, are insulating harmful policies from judicial review and preventing parents from vindicating their constitutional rights. With the stakes so high, this Court should grant certiorari.