Oshkosh Schools Won't Inform Parents if Children Change Gender Identity

The Oshkosh Area School District will no longer inform parents if their children decide to change their names or preferred pronouns, "The Dan O'Donnell Show" has learned exclusively.

"The District recently changed a section of administrative guideline 2260E that required parental consent in order for district staff to use a student’s preferred name or gender pronouns if they differed from the student’s biological sex assigned at birth," Pupil Services Matthew Kaemmerer wrote in a memo to Oshkosh Area School District staff on Tuesday. "District staff members are no longer required to seek parental consent prior to honoring student requests to be called by their preferred name and/or pronouns."

Students will still need legal documentation of a name change in order to change their name in the District's computer system, but the policy change allows teachers and other district staff to treat students as members of a different gender without notifying parents that they are doing so.

"The Oshkosh Area School District is committed to fostering a safe, supportive and inclusive learning environment for all students," wrote Kaemmerer.

Last September, a Dane County Circuit Court judge granted a temporary injunction blocking the Madison Metropolitan School District from implementing a nearly identical policy. Parents challenged it on Constitutional grounds, arguing that it violated their 14th Amendment right to rear their children and, as part of that, have input in their children's education.

The United States Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld this concept, ruling most recently in 2000 that "it cannot now be doubted that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment protects the fundamental right of parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children."

This right extends to education, as the Court explained in the 1925 case Pierce v. Society of Sisters.

"The child is not the mere creature of the State; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations," the Court held, adding that parents have the absolute right "to direct the upbringing and education of children under their control."

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