Aug 8, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Iowa school district sued over "gender support policy" by parental rights group

Students attend class on June 24, 2022 in New York City. Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Parents Defending Education, a conservative parental rights group, filed a lawsuit against an Iowa school district last week, contesting the district's new policy regarding transgender and gender-nonconforming students, the Iowa Torch reported.

The big picture: Schools have become a battleground across the country, as parents and teachers vehemently disagree over what content should taught in schools, particularly when it comes to race, gender and sexuality.

State of play: The Linn-Mar Community School District in Iowa voted in April to adopt a new policy for its transgender and gender-nonconforming students.

  • The most controversial aspect of the policy is the "gender support plan." Students can request a plan, which creates "a shared understanding about the ways in which a student's gender identity will be accounted for and supported at school." Students can also decide whether parents or guardians participate in this plan.
  • As part of the plan, the school can require staff and students to use students' preferred names and pronouns, and allow students to use restrooms and locker rooms and participate in physical activities that match their gender identity, according to the Iowa Capital-Dispatch.
  • The policy also requires that school staff check with students before contacting their parents or guardians and confirm what names and pronouns to use, according to the Iowa Torch.

Driving the news: Parents Defending Education sued the school district last week on behalf of parents in the district, claiming that the policy violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

  • "The Policy authorizes children to make fundamentally important decisions concerning their gender identity without any parental involvement and to then hide these decisions from their parents," the lawsuit said.
  • The group claims that the policy violates parents' "constitutional right to raise their child as they see fit" because of their potential exclusion from the "gender support plan." They also claim it violates the children's First Amendment right to free speech by requiring students to use preferred names and pronouns.
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