Texas school districts could not do what the Montgomery County Board of Education in Maryland did. Nor are there many that would choose to do it, even if they could. Here’s how the 4th Circuit described the district’s Guidelines for Gender Identity by which schools can develop “gender support plans for students”:
The Guidelines allow implementation of these plans without the knowledge or consent of the students’ parents. They even authorize the schools to withhold information about the plans from parents if the school deems the parents to be unsupportive.
When I read the words “they even authorize” I felt sure that the court was going to declare that these Guidelines improperly infringe on parents’ rights. Later in the opinion the court describes the district’s position as “staggering from a policy standpoint.”
And yet, the court dismissed the parents’ lawsuit. The problem was a lack of “standing.” These parents did not allege that they had personally suffered any injury. They did not allege that their children had “Gender Support Plans” or were thinking of pursuing one. Therefore, there was no information about their children that was being withheld from them.
No injury. No standing. No jurisdiction. And the dozens of advocacy groups that weighed in on this go away disappointed. Key Quote:
Discussions about standing are inevitably wonky. But that should not obscure the importance of the underlying principles involved.
The majority opinion opens with a reference to Frederick Douglass:
Frederick Douglass famously said that our freedoms as Americans rest in the ballot box and the jury box. So true. But when may we open each box?
The court answers that question at the end of its opinion:
But because these parents have not alleged an injury that confers Article III standing, their remedy lies in the ballot box, not the jury box.
It’s John and Jane Parents 1 v. Montgomery County Board of Education, decided by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals on August 14, 2023. Don’t be surprised if this one gets en banc review.
DAWG BONE: MAYBE MARYLAND DOES NOT HAVE A “PARENT RIGHTS” CHAPTER IN THEIR EDUCATION CODE.
Got a question or comment for the Dawg? Let me hear from you at email@example.com.
Tomorrow: transgender students and athletics….another case.