A growing number of school districts across the nation — as well as the Biden administration — have embraced policies that either tacitly or explicitly remove parents from discussions about students’ gender transitions.
New Jersey’s “Transgender Student Guidance for School Districts” says schools can’t inform parents if their child comes out as trans. Students are allowed to change their name, gender identity, and pronouns without parental consent. pic.twitter.com/caLVodPJzo
— Libs of TikTok (@libsoftiktok) May 12, 2022
One of the most recent examples can be found in one Colorado district’s new guidelines. Specifically, the “Supporting Transgender and Gender-Nonconforming Students and Staff” policy requires that teachers and administrators in Pueblo School District 60 defer to students, not parents, when determining whether to share any information related to gender identity.
For starters, the guidelines require “no medical or mental health diagnosis or treatment threshold” in order to affirm a student’s chosen gender identity.
“Students ready to socially transition may initiate a process at the school to change their name, pronoun, and access to programs, activities, and facilities consistent with their gender identity,” the policy continues.
Furthermore, parents have no inherent right to know about any such changes.
While the district suggests bringing guardians into the loop if that would “support” the transitioning child, the policy makes it clear that students hold all the power.
The guidelines assert that teachers and staff “should first discuss the parental involvement with the students to avoid inadvertently putting the student at risk of harm by contacting the student’s parents,” clarifying that “students who are transgender and gender-nonconforming have the right to discuss and express their gender identity and expression openly and decide when, with whom, and how much to share private information.”
Members of the group Parents Defending Education highlighted the controversial new policy, and its director of community engagement explained why she finds it so objectionable.
“For a working-class community that prides itself in local control, it is outrageous to see how parents — the most local decision-makers of all — are being obliterated by these policies that also compel the speech of teachers and school staff,” said Marilyn Salabarria. “To add insult to injury, we are talking about a district that is academically ranked in the bottom half for the entire state, where only 12% of the students are proficient in math and 30% read at grade level.”
She affirmed that the “district has its priorities terribly wrong, to say the least,” and other parents across the country are sharing similar assessments of their local school districts.
Parents Defending Education released the results of a recent poll that found roughly three-fourths of respondents believe parental consent should be required before a school assists in helping a student change his or her gender identity.