A parent is suing a school district over a message the district allegedly wrote and read to students about a teacher’s gender change from male to female.
The suit was filed by Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) on behalf of the parent against the Eau Claire Area School District.
“All I am asking is for the school district to provide what was told to my children and their peers in the classroom,” said Leah Buchman, Eau Claire parent and plaintiff, according to a statement provided by WILL. “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.”
The students found out via the message that orchestra teacher Jacob Puccio is transitioning to female, reported Fox News.
The message was deliberately scripted to “ensure that students received information in a particular way,” according to WILL.
Indeed, the teachers’ bio on the school website still has “Jacob Puccio” in the url, but the name listed in the bio give the name “Carly Beilke-Puccio.”
The message announcing the transition of Puccio was read in several elementary and high school classrooms, reported Fox News.
Buchman, who has children in both the district’s middle school orchestra and the high school band, requested copies of the statement, according to WILL.
In emails obtained by Fox News, Joe McCausland, the Eau Claire North Director of Bands, originally agreed that the school district would provide at least a verbal account of what was said during the announcements.
“I briefly talked with and forwarded your email on to Dang Yang (the ECASD Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion); the district specified that the script I read on Monday needed to be a verbal presentation only and was not to be shared electronically,” McCausland’s email to Buchman said. “He should give you the info you need, but let me know if you need anything else.”
The request, however, was denied by the district’s lawyer, who claimed that the matter is now under investigation and thus the records are off-limits, said WILL.
Subsequently, WILL made a public records request for the information.
WILL also says the investigation cited by the district’s lawyer as the reason for confidentiality, does not appear to have started yet, over a month later, leading the legal group to wonder whether the district is stonewalling.
WILL said in its suit that under Wisconsin law, denying access to public records is considered contrary to the public good and only allowable in extraordinary circumstances.
The mere fact that the message was prepared by the school district and was intentionally read in public means that the record cannot be considered confidential in any way, said WILL.
“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,” said Cory Brewer, an associate counsel for WILL. “What was told to these kids should be readily accessible to parents.”
Previously parents have been locked in a legal battle over the district’s policy on hiding gender dysphoria cases from parents.