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Court blocks school district from enforcing ludicrous gender identity policies

  A preliminary injunction has been issued by a federal court in Cedar Rapids, Iowa blocking the enforcement of a school policy that require...

 A preliminary injunction has been issued by a federal court in Cedar Rapids, Iowa blocking the enforcement of a school policy that required students and employees to "respect a student's gender identity," even if it did not align with biological or spiritual reality.

On September 29, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit granted a motion for a preliminary injunction against Linn-Mar Community School District, filed by the parental rights group Parents Defending Education (PDE).

The decision signed by District Judge C.J. Williams, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, prevents the district from enforcing the part of Board Policy 504.13-R that prohibits using correct pronouns for gender-confused students.  

According to the school's policy, every student has the right to be addressed by a name and pronoun corresponding to their gender identity, and a court-ordered name or gender change is not required.

The policy also allows students to use locker rooms and bathrooms matching their gender identity. Teachers are encouraged to ask all students how they want to be addressed in class and in communications with their parents or guardians.

Before the court's ruling, any staff member or student at Linn-Mar refusing to "respect" a student's gender identity would violate school board policies. However, the federal appeals court ordered the district to stop enforcing this section of the policy during the ongoing litigation.

PDE founding president: Parental exclusion policies are unpopular

Nicole Neily, PDE's president and founder, expressed gratitude for the court's decision and highlighted the importance of protecting speech and preventing arbitrary enforcement of vague terms, especially concerning compelled student speech. Neily also pointed out that the ruling invalidated parental exclusion policies in Linn-Mar and throughout the state of Iowa, signaling a broader impact.

Neily believes that parental exclusion policies are unpopular and will likely be challenged legally in the future. Parents and lawmakers across the country have been increasingly concerned about transgender ideology being promoted in schools and have worked to pass legislation to protect parental rights and address these concerns.

Southern Baptists, who filed amicus briefs supporting PDE, applauded the injunction. The Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) and the Baptist Convention of Iowa (BCI) are among nearly 75 groups that filed amicus briefs supporting PDE in the lawsuit filed in August 2022.

"Government cannot pave our consciences, particularly in an attempt to muzzle speech it finds disfavorable about biological sex and gender identity," ERLC president Brent Leatherwood told Baptist Press. "This decision recognizes that principle and ensures parents and students are not forced to abandon biblical convictions underlying their speech and conduct merely because they’re in a public school setting."

The policy would have allowed LGBTQ students to declare a new gender without their parent's knowledge – and would have disallowed parents such knowledge even if they asked.

That part of the policy, however, has since been outlawed by a July 2023 state law.

With the temporary injunction, PDE is now seeking a court rule permanently dismissing the policy because it violates the student’s First Amendment rights.

As transgender identification among children has risen, so too have surgical procedures for minors. Parents and conservative lawmakers have responded by taking action to safeguard their children's education and well-being.

Last month, the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland banned participation in radical LGBT ideology in its elementary and high schools, prohibiting "pride" flags, preferred pronouns, participation in social or surgical gender transitions, and more. The policy expressed sympathy for those with gender dysphoria but affirmed the divinely revealed reality of human nature as given by God.

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