A recent training session for the Wisconsin Eau Claire Area District staff reminded teachers that parents are “not entitled” to know their children’s gender identities.
One of the training slides obtained by Empower Wisconsin indicated that this year’s Equity Session on Safe Spaces also instructed teachers that parental knowledge of their kids’ identities “must be earned.”
In a joint statement, parents and school board candidates Nicole Everson, Melissa Winter and Corey Cronrath said that they are appalled that the district would show “such blatant disregard” for parents in the community. Their statement also said they are “equally dismayed” that district leadership would pressure teachers to break the contract that parents are primarily responsible for decisions affecting the care and welfare of their children.
The Eau Claire candidates demand district administrators apologize to teachers for placing them in an adversarial position with families and breaking the trust needed to help children thrive.
The three candidates say they have joined the race for three open school board seats to protect parental rights. The training indicates that the district believes schools and not parents control children and is willing to put the two groups against each other.
Meanwhile, District Superintendent Michael Johnson issued a statement saying the district intends to maintain an “equitable, safe and inclusive” environment for students. He added that the challenged training material “assists staff members” in that effort.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court is currently considering a case regarding a Madison Metropolitan School District policy allowing children of any age to transition to opposite gender identity at school without parental consent. The policy is being challenged by the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) and the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) on behalf of a group of parents.
The Madison policy provides that children can change their names and pronouns and school staff may not notify parents without the child’s consent. Employees are told to mislead parents by using such a child’s actual name and pronouns when talking with family members or anyone outside of the school setting.
Wisconsin’s Republican state legislature recently passed a Parental Bill of Rights that would protect the role of parents as primary caretakers of their children. Democratic Governor Tony Evers is expected to veto the bill.