Attorney Generals Urge SCOTUS to Take Case on Parental Rights Within Schools

Sixteen attorney generals, led by Virginia AG Jason Miyares (R), have filed an amicus brief requesting that the U.S. Supreme Court take up a case involving schools’ efforts to transition students without parental knowledge or consent.

The states involved in the matter are Virginia, Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia.

“I’m asking the U.S. Supreme Court to provide much-needed clarity and reaffirm that government cannot override parents’ fundamental rights simply because they think they know better,” Miyares said in a statement. “Schools must work with parents, not against them, to support a child’s wellbeing.”

According to the amicus brief, states involved in the matter have a “compelling interest in protecting parents’ fundamental right to make decisions about ‘the care, custody, and control of their children.'”

“This case presents the opportunity for this Court to reiterate that government officials cannot interfere with this right — ‘perhaps the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests recognized by’ this Court — just because the government officials believe that they know better,” the brief reads.

It adds that “[s]chool districts have no interest, compelling or otherwise, in wholesale concealment of children’s gender transitions from parents, absent any evidence of abuse or neglect. ‘Simply because the decision of a parent is not agreeable to a child or because it involves risks does not automatically transfer the power to make that decision from the parents to some agency or officer of the state.'”

The amicus brief surrounds a 2022 Wisconsin court case where parents sued the Eau Claire Area School District over guidance it provided for students struggling with their gender.

In the 2022 complaint, parents claimed the school district’s policy “mandates that schools and teachers hide critical information regarding a child’s health from his or her parents and to take action specifically designed to alter the child’s mental and physical well-being. Specifically, the Policy allows and requires District staff to treat a child as if he or she is the opposite sex, by changing the child’s name, pronouns, and intimate facility use, all without the parents’ knowledge or consent.”

“The obvious purpose of such secrecy is to prevent parents from making critical decisions for their own minor children, from interfering with the school’s ideologically-driven activities, from caring for their children, or from freely practicing their religion,” the complaint states. “The insidious invasion of parental rights at issue in this case cannot be tolerated by a free people who value liberty.”

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed on March 7 that a district court’s previous ruling on the matter was correct to dismiss the complaint for “lack of subject matter jurisdiction.”

“Unless that policy operates to impose an injury or to create an imminent risk of injury, however—a worry that may never come to pass—the association’s concerns do not establish standing to sue and thus do not create a Case or Controversy,” the March 7 ruling reads. “The district court had no choice but to dismiss the challenge for lack of Article III subject matter jurisdiction.”