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HomeBreaking NewsSun Prairie School District Sends Mom Cease & Desist Letter After She...

Sun Prairie School District Sends Mom Cease & Desist Letter After She Questions Transgender Book Read to First Graders

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A lawyer representing the Sun Prairie School District sent a cease-and-desist letter to a local mother, demanding that she stop her “persistent questioning of District curriculum” after she emailed Creekside Elementary School Principal Kyle Walsh concerns about a book on transgender issues that he recorded himself reading for elementary school students.

In part, the letter demands that the parent never suggest to Walsh in emails or other communication that reading the book is “disturbing.” The letter says its second purpose “is to address your persistent questioning of District curriculum and to direct you to cease and desist in any manner other than to comply with School District policy.”

Walsh is the principal who recently caused controversy for writing in an email to parents that “white privilege is an unlimited ATM, it never runs out.”

Axley Attorneys, a Madison law firm, sent the letter on Feb. 20, 2023, to parent Kris Ganske, a well-known anti-bullying advocate in the district and mother of a first grader. The four-page letter is signed by attorney Lori M. Lubinsky, who wrote that she represents the Sun Prairie Area School District.

Ganske told Wisconsin Right Now that her central concern was that the book was being read to first graders without more involvement from parents. Lubinsky previously represented the Wauwatosa School District in an open records lawsuit relating to its “gender identity curriculum.” She also represented DePere School District against a challenge to its COVID policies.

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We sent the school district an open records request asking for the amount of the legal fees for the drafting of the cease and desist letter.

We asked for comment from the members of the Sun Prairie Board of Education, none responded.

The Sun Prairie Star previously named the parent, Ganske, one of its “20 to watch in 2020,” writing, “Star readers recall that Ganske was among those who publicly took on the Sun Prairie School Board in order to get the board to do something about pervasive reports of bullying in Sun Prairie Area School District public schools.”

The book in question is called “When Aidan Became a Brother,” according to an email Walsh sent Creekside staff, which was obtained by Wisconsin Right Now. The 2019 picture book “celebrates the changes in a transgender boy’s life, from his initial coming-out to becoming a big brother,” according to its Amazon page.

Sun prairie schools

“The main thing I have to say about this book being read to first graders…My issue is not the content of the book, my issues and concerns come from the conversations that may be had after the book,” Ganske, the mother of an LGBT child herself, told WRN.

“The questions, concerns and confusions a young child may have,” Ganske added, saying she believes parents were not prepared enough.

Ganske said she asked that “more controversial lessons be transparent.”

The parent expressed her concerns in multiple lengthy emails to Walsh. In an email to Ganske in early February, Walsh did note that we “can certainly find time for you to meet with your child’s teacher in advance of any concerning content or topics, and you can decide if you’d like (her son) to be removed from the learning.”

However, the lawyer’s letter has a very different tone.

Sun prairie schools

 

The letter notes, “Please know that this communication has the full support of District Administration including District Administrator Brad Saron and Board President Steve Schroeder.”

The lawyer wrote that the parent does “not have a right to be notified every time anything that you may personally deem to be ‘non basic curriculum’ is used in the classroom.” It demands, “Please cease and desist from communicating with Principal Walsh over any further concerns you have with the curriculum.”

“I am in receipt of numerous email communications you have sent to Principal Kyle Walsh including most recently two emails you sent to him on February 15, 2023, concerning the National Day of Reading activity at Creekside Elementary School,” the lawyer’s letter says.

“In those emails you reflect on the National Day of Reading activity as ‘beyond disturbing’ and describe Principal Walsh reading the book as ‘borderline grooming.’ You offer your opinion on who should be reading the book and question why the book is so important to Principal Walsh. You claim that comments on-line, which you imply align with your
views, include that Principal Walsh will ‘be the next SP Pedo staff member’ and ‘what’s next a drag show.’”

WRN obtained the actual email that Ganske sent using those words. In the case of two of the latter comments, she states in the email that other parents were making them and labeled them “insane,” as opposed to saying they were her own opinions. To be clear, WRN is not suggesting nor stating that Walsh is grooming anyone. However, for the purpose of providing full context, here is what Ganske wrote in that email passage referencing the book reading.

“After thinking about this more, this is so beyond disturbing. This is borderline grooming… you want this particular book shared with the entire school, with your own voice reading the book,” she wrote.

“Why is this book so important to you? Why with your own voice and not have a teacher read a book of their choice to the class? I have so many questions,” she wrote. “It is already going around and I am absolutely not the only parent who is on fire right now. Comments are flowing ‘will he be the next SP Pedo staff member?’… ‘what’s next a drag show’… they comments are insane. You are walking a very thin line with a large group of parents. I hope for some quick answers before this gets way blown up and viral.”

Lubinsky wrote that the comments about Walsh are “patently false.”

Lubinsky wrote that the letter “will serve as a cease and desist letter directing that you refrain from any further communications with Principal Walsh that state, imply or even
suggest that Principal Walsh is engaging in ‘grooming’ and/or ‘disturbing’ activities, or stating or implying that he is and/or will be the next ‘SP Pedo staff member.'”

The letter claims the comments are “patently false and highly defamatory” and gave the parent notice that “a civil cause of action for defamation exists under Wisconsin law against persons who make false and defamatory statements about another.”

According to the lawyer’s letter, in 2019, the School Board charged District Administration with forming a task force to deal with student behavior and bullying. One priority recommendation identified by that task force was “Pro-active Support of High Risk (LGBTQ),” the letter says.

According to the letter, the district identified “LGBTQ and Gender-Inclusive Practices” including, “(1) lessons and resources; (2) developmentally appropriate and respectful vocabulary; and (3) practices to ensure an inclusive community.”

The lawyer told the parent that the district’s vision is to be “a high performing district of choice that reflects the cultures of the diverse community.”

“The District, through its Equity Statement, Board Policies, District Policies, and the recommendations of the Task Force is unwavering in its commitment to provide proactive support for high risk students including the District’s LGBTQIA+ students,” the lawyer’s letter says.

“While you may personally disagree with curriculum and materials the District chooses to support this directive, your personal opinion will not impede the District’s mission to inspire and prepare every child, every day, by providing relevant, engaging and innovative learning experiences in and out of the classroom.”

The lawyer wrote that the parent had “consistently and persistently questioned Principal
Walsh over curriculum that aligns and supports the directives outlined above. To be clear, Principal Walsh will no longer engage with you on this topic due to the nature of your communications.”

The letter continues, “The District will not permit one of its staff members to be harassed, defamed, disparaged and insulted like you have done.”

Continued the letter: “Your recent communications toward Principal Walsh do not embody effective communication.” The parent was told she could file a complaint if she objects to curriculum in the future.

The lawyer said the curriculum was “district approved” and is being implement “at the District level. The curriculum has the support and approval of Principal Walsh’s administrative supervisors.”

In the interview with Wisconsin Right Now, the parent, Ganske, said that she has been actively involved in combating bullying in the Sun Prairie School District after her daughter experienced bullying in middle school.

She created a Facebook page of parents advocating against bullying and helped form a group of parents who went to School Board meetings “to spread awareness of the severity of bullying in our community.” Ganske also said she started creating “bullying reports” based on accounts from people in Sun Prairie who had experienced it.

“Our group grew and grew,” she said. “We even had t shirts made up and started attending the school board meetings in large groups.” She said she was part of a bullying task force but became frustrated and had her daughter attend school virtually instead.

Other news articles featured her anti-bullying efforts.

Ganske, a mother of four, grew up in Sun Prairie and both of her parents worked for years for the School District.

“I’m a single mom just really trying to raise good humans and keep values instilled in them,” she told WRN. “But also am not naive to agendas being pushed that are not appropriate. In our home we teach kindness and about Jesus. My older daughter is a lesbian and we do not treat her differently nor is it made to me a show or mockery of her and her sexual preferences.”

Jim Piwowarczykhttps://www.wisconsinrightnow.com/
Jim Piwowarczyk is an investigative journalist and co-founder of Wisconsin Right Now.
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