CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (LifeSiteNews) — A federal court on Friday handed staff and students in an Iowa school district a major victory, issuing a temporary injunction blocking district schools from enforcing a policy requiring students and employees “respect a student’s gender identity” even if that “identity” does not correspond with biological and spiritual reality.
On Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit granted a motion from parental rights group Parents Defending Education (PDE) for a preliminary injunction against Linn-Mar Community School District.
The September 29 decision, signed by District Judge C.J. Williams, a Trump appointee, bars the district “from enforcing the portion of Board Policy 504.13-R,” which explicitly prohibits using the correct pronouns to refer to a gender-confused student.
According to the school’s policy, “[e]very student has the right to be addressed by a name and pronoun that corresponds to their gender identity. A court-ordered name or gender change is not required, and the student need not change official school records.”
The policy, which also guarantees students the use of locker rooms and bathrooms that “correspond to their gender identity,” adds that teachers “may ask all students how they want to be addressed in class “and in communications with their parent/guardian.”
Prior to the Friday ruling by the federal appeals court, if a staff member or student at Linn-Mar engaged in an alleged “intentional and/or persistent refusal … to respect a student’s gender identity,” they would incur “a violation of school board policies.”
Thanks to the ruling by the appeals court, however, the district has been ordered to stop enforcing the latter section of the policy “during the pendency of this litigation.”
In a press release announcing the decision, PDE president and founder Nicole Neily said her organization is “gratified that the Eighth Circuit upheld the rights of families and students in Linn-Mar.”
“It is never acceptable to prohibit speech with vague terms that allow arbitrary enforcement, especially when compelled student speech is at stake, and this sends a clear message to other districts across the country with similar bullying and harassment policies on the books,” Neily said.
According to Neily, the ruling “also made clear that Linn-Mar’s parental exclusion policies are now unlawful throughout the State of Iowa. Yet these policies remain on the books in far too many districts across the country.”
“Parental exclusion policies are a loser in the court of public opinion – and I have no doubt that they will eventually be struck down in the court of law as well,” she said.
As LifeSiteNews has extensively reported, parents nationwide have become concerned amid revelations that young children have been actively being encouraged in their classrooms to accept and even adopt “transgender,” “gender-fluid,” or “non-binary” identities. Transgender identification among children has spiked in recent years, and the rates of surgical mutilation for minors have also risen astronomically.
Parents and conservative lawmakers have reacted by working together at the grassroots and legislative levels to craft legislation to require schools to notify families of a child’s gender confusion, pull sexually explicit and pro-LGBT curricula and materials from classrooms and school libraries, protect girls’ sports and spaces, and ban sexualized performances targeting children.
Last month, the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland made headlines when it formally banned participation in radical LGBT ideology for all of its elementary and high schools, prohibiting “pride” flags, preferred pronouns, participation in social or surgical gender “transitions,” and more.
The new policy, which took effect September 1 and applies to all “employees, personnel, volunteers, students, and youth participating in parish or institutional faith formation,” expresses sympathy with those struggling with “gender dysphoria or confusion or same-sex attraction” but states that a view claiming that “gender” can be an identity separate from one’s God-given body “erases those intentional, embodied distinctions between men and women” and is “contrary to the divinely revealed reality of our true, God-given human nature.”