What’s in a name? A child’s name often signifies parents’ hopes and dreams for them or connects that child to their family history. But, as parents in Wisconsin were shocked to learn, school officials planned to ignore their authority by addressing their confused 12-year-old daughter with a male name and male pronouns, and without their knowledge or consent.

They and another family have sued the school district for violating their fundamental parental rights. As Senior Counsel Kate Anderson, director of the Alliance Defending Freedom Center for Parental Rights, which represents the parents, explained, “Parents’ rights to direct the upbringing, education, and mental health treatment of their children is one of the most basic constitutional rights every parent holds dear. Yet we are seeing an increasing number of school districts ignore parents’ concerns, and even actively work against them.”

The case further illustrates the dangers of schools crossing the line from education to indoctrination. Gender ideology is a radical denial of the truth that we are born male or female. Instead, it asserts a false claim that children may be “trapped” in the wrong body. Parental rights are among the oldest and longest recognized “inherent rights.” And indoctrination into gender ideology threatens parents’ ability to direct both their children’s education and health care.

To protect children’s minds, bodies, and family relationships from gender ideology, parents and lawmakers must actively protect parental rights in both education and health care.

Lawmakers are going to work on this. Florida passed a robust bill of rights, and other states have passed similar legislation to shield children from gender identity ideology in accordance with the Promise to America’s Children. U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley just introduced a bill to protect parental rights, and states are likely to introduce similar legislation.

And parents around the country are working hard, too, standing up to school boards to protest the indoctrination of children into both Critical Race Theory and gender ideology. In Loudoun County, Virginia, for example, the school board overrode the will of parents and implemented a gender identity policy that compels teachers and students to affirm a student’s false gender identity without requiring parental notification. That fight led to a victory for parents in the recent Virginia governor’s race and has emboldened parents around the country to continue fighting for their children’s welfare.

Experts in the field maintain that parents should be an integral part of a child’s health decisions, including when the child experiences a desire to self-identify as the opposite sex. But as happened in Wisconsin, school officials too often ignore the risks and aggressively take the matter into their own hands.

When the parents in this Wisconsin lawsuit finally learned that their 12-year old daughter was experiencing anxiety, depression, and confusion about her sex, they took her out of school and concentrated on getting her the help she needed. After much thought and research, they decided that it was in her best interests to affirm the truth that she is a girl. Nevertheless, the school insisted on addressing her with a male name and pronouns, in spite of her parents’ explicit instructions.

Her parents had no choice but to withdraw their daughter from the school. After just two weeks out of school, she reconciled with her biological sex and told her parents, “Affirmative care really messed me up.” She explained that the rush to affirm that she was a boy increased her confusion and fueled her anger towards her mother.

She is not alone. Up to 90% of children who don’t undergo social transition before puberty end up accepting the truth that they are either male or female. Dr. Kenneth J. Zucker warns that encouraging social transition is actually “implementing a psychosocial treatment that will increase the odds of long-term persistence” of gender dysphoria. School officials do not have the medical expertise, much less the authority to make health care decisions for students.

The Wisconsin lawsuit should be a wake-up call to all parents. Parents, not schools, have the authority and the duty to help children flourish according to the truth that they are born in the right body.

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