The Eau Claire Area Wisconsin School District is actively hiding a script read to students about a teacher’s upcoming gender transition, and one mom is fighting back to protect her kids and parental rights.
In early June, several elementary, middle, and high school classrooms in the Eau Claire Area School District were read a statement informing students that the orchestra teacher, Jacob Puccio, would be undergoing a gender transition.
Additionally, middle school orchestra students were reportedly subjected to a discussion with Puccio and the District’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion director, Dang Yang. Students were apparently instructed to refer to Mr. Puccio as Ms. Puccio from now on, and Puccio informed the students that from a young age, he was traumatized by his parents and friends, who did not accept he was female. Puccio also allegedly made reference to a transgender medical procedure that he would undergo in the future.
Leah Buchman, who has a child in elementary school, twins in middle school, and a teen in high school, learned about the middle school discussion and scripted announcements from her kids. Buchman said she was completely taken off guard, as the district never asked for parental consent, nor did it notify parents.
“If my daughter needs to take an aspirin or if they need to go on a field trip, I need to sign a consent form,” Buchman told The Federalist. “I was really frustrated because my daughter especially had lots of questions, and I had no idea what was said, so it was really hard to walk her through this.”
Buchman promptly contacted the school to request a copy of the script but was denied. She then filed an open records request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) but was denied again. “It feels like the school district is pushing parents out and having secrets with my children, and that’s wrong,” said Buchman.
The school claims that the “document could not be disclosed because an investigation was underway into whether any employee acted improperly,” but Buchman isn’t buying it. Last Monday, she sued the district for violating the open records law.
According to Buchman’s representation, the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, the district has not disclosed the start date of its investigation or who was being investigated. “At this point in time, I don’t really trust my school district,” said Buchman. “To me, it almost makes it almost seem like they’re trying to hide something.”
Buchman explained to The Federalist that part of the problem is many parents are not even aware of the middle school transgender discussion or the scripted announcements. Some students never told their parents, so many parents only learned about what took place because of Buchman’s lawsuit. “People are extremely frustrated with the lack of transparency our district has with parents,” said Buchman.
“One thing that we really want to get across is that if this is happening in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, it’s happening all over the country,” Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty Associate Counsel Cory Brewer told The Federalist.
Likewise, Buchman said that while she has accumulated many silent supporters, she wants to encourage others to speak up. “I don’t mind putting my name out there and being that person advocating for our kids’ rights,” said Buchman, but she also wants more parents “around the country to not be afraid to speak up, be heard, and get engaged in the process.”
“You have options, you can push back, you don’t have to accept the status quo,” Buchman insisted.