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Wisconsin School District Sued After Teacher’s Gender Transition Announcement

  A parent is suing a Wisconsin school district after school officials announced a teacher’s gender transition to students as young as in el...

 A parent is suing a Wisconsin school district after school officials announced a teacher’s gender transition to students as young as in elementary school without parental notification.

Leah Buchman, a mother in the Eau Claire Area School District in western Wisconsin, filed a complaint Monday accusing the district of violating open records law and keeping parents in the dark about the teacher’s gender transition announcement.

On June 5, the second to last day of the school year, all orchestra students at Northstar Middle School were gathered in the orchestra room with orchestra teacher Jacob Puccio, a school counselor, and the district’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) director, Dang Yang, according to the complaint.

The middle school students were told that Puccio, the orchestra teacher, would be undergoing a gender transition from male to female, according to the lawsuit.

Music students at three elementary schools and one high school in the district were also allegedly read a scripted statement about the teacher’s gender transition.

Buchman, the mom who sued the district, initially requested a copy of the scripted statement but was denied, she said. Buchman has children in both the middle school orchestra and the high school band.

An attorney for the school district allegedly said the document could not be released because an investigation was ongoing into whether any school employee acted improperly around the June 5 announcement.

After the school’s refusal to produce the statement, Buchman filed her lawsuit along with the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL).


“All I am asking is for the school district to provide what was told to my children and their peers in the classroom. As a parent, it’s my responsibility to help my kids understand all that life throws their way, and I do not understand why it has taken the school district so long to update parents,” Buchman said.

“It’s ridiculous for a school district to refuse to produce a statement that was read out loud to dozens of minor students in several district classrooms. What was told to these kids should be readily accessible to parents,” said WILL attorney Cory Brewer.

Both the mom and her attorneys requested a copy of the scripted statement read to students under Wisconsin’s open records law, and both were denied, they said.

“Unfortunately, this ‘investigation’ appears to have not even started yet, and given that the event occurred over a month ago, this raises a question of whether the District is simply stonewalling to prevent the release of this information to parents,” WILL said in a press release announcing the lawsuit.

Last year, the Eau Claire school district made headlines for instructing teachers to hide their students’ gender identity transitions from their parents during a February 25 staff training.

“Parents are not entitled to know their kids’ identities,” read a slide from the presentation. “That knowledge must be earned.”

“Teachers are often straddling this complex situation,” the slide continued, adding that the district’s “priority is supporting the student.”

The training sparked outrage among parents at the time.

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