Feds investigating Baraboo's St. John's Lutheran School for acce - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Feds investigating Baraboo's St. John's Lutheran School for accepting funds while discriminating against LGBT community

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BARABOO (WKOW) -- A Baraboo school is under fire for allegations of discrimination against the LGBT Community. 

A complaint has been lodged against St. John's Lutheran School in Baraboo, claiming the school, which takes federal money, added new rules to exclude gay and transgender kids. 

It's an issue that shocks transgender woman Jamie Cook.  She went to the neighboring St. John's Lutheran Elementary in Portage, before transitioning into a transgender woman. 

"That somebody is willing to punish a child, that's my biggest issue with this this," Cook said about the new policies.

"To find out that it's such bigotry, it is hiding behind religion," she said.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation recently learned about a letter sent home to parents in February, requiring parents sign a handbook pledge and provide a copy of their child's birth certificate to prove gender.

"I would say we're surprised, but more disappointed," Freedom From Religion Foundation Attorney Patrick Elliott said.  Elliott says because Baraboo takes Federal funding for school lunches, there's an ethical problem.

FFRF also says this is likely not an isolated incident, but it's hard to prove discrimination in parochial institutions.

"That's one of the issues that schools aren't necessarily broadcasting their admissions policies or discriminatory practices, I think in Wisconsin, it's something to be concerned about," Elliott said.

The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, the governing body for St. John's says they have not received any notice of a complaint from the government. 

WKOW reached out to the school's Principal and Church Pastor for response.  They declined to comment.

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