July 8th, 2024 2 Minute Read Amicus Brief by Ilya Shapiro, John Ketcham, Leor Sapir

Amicus Brief: Parents Protecting Our Children v. Eau Claire Area School District

The Eau Claire, Wisconsin School District, like many others across the country, has a policy to facilitate gender-identity transitions at school while keeping this hidden from parents who would not agree that changing gender identity is in their child’s best interests. The District even trained all of its staff that “parents are not entitled to know their kids’ identities [at school]. That knowledge must be earned.” An association of parents who have children in the district challenged this policy as a violation of their parental rights, protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. They also brought claims under the Free Exercise clause, the state analogues to both, and the PPRA (Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment, 20 U.S.C. § 1232h). The district court dismissed the case for lack of standing because the complaint does not allege that the district has already transitioned any of their children—although it does allege that, due to the policy, they are prevented from knowing whether it has been applied to their children. The Seventh Circuit affirmed on the same grounds.

The parents have now filed a petition for Supreme Court review and the Manhattan Institute filed an amicus brief, updating four we previously filed in similar cases that present medical research showing that social transition is not a neutral act but an active intervention. The lower courts failed to understand the benefits and risks of social transitions and other mental-health aspects of gender affirmation, particularly in light of developments in Europe and the disclosure of less-then-good-faith communications of American medical authorities.

Ilya Shapiro is a senior fellow and director of Constitutional Studies at the Manhattan Institute. Follow him on Twitter here.

John Ketcham is a legal policy fellow and director of Cities Policy at the Manhattan Institute.

Leor Sapir is a fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

Photo: SDI Productions / E+ via Getty Images


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