Wisconsin Supreme Court agrees to review suit against MMSD over transgender student preferred name policy

MADISON, Wis. — The Wisconsin Supreme Court has agreed to review a case arguing the Madison Metropolitan School District’s policy not to tell parents if a transgender student chooses to use a different name at school violates parents’ constitutional rights.

The lawsuit, filed nearly two years ago in February 2020, relates to an MMSD policy adopted in 2018 allowing school staff members to use a student’s preferred name at school and their legal name when speaking with their parents.

RELATED: 14 parents sue Madison school district over transgender policy

Advocates of the policy change have said it’s designed to support students who may not be ready to come out to their family members, while opponents have argued the move takes away parents’ rights when it comes to their child’s life and healthcare-related decisions.

In a statement Friday afternoon, Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty Deputy Counsel Luke Berg, the lead counsel in the case, said the plaintiffs are pleased the state’s highest court will hear the case.

“The Madison Metropolitan School District cannot make decisions reserved for parents,” he said.

Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Kate Anderson also praised the high court’s decision.

“School policies that exclude parents from children’s gender identity decisions are harming children across the country,” she said. “We are hopeful that the Wisconsin Supreme Court will take the lead in protecting a parent’s right to be a parent.”

MMSD spokesperson Tim LeMonds said Friday the district cannot comment on pending litigation, but in 2020 he told News 3 Now in a statement the district stood behind the policy “and recognizes its tremendous responsibility to uphold the right of every child to be educated in a safe, all-inclusive and nondiscriminatory learning environment.”