Report: Nearly 6,000 schools hide gender transitions from parents

by Jacob Fuller

Chris Lieberman, FISM News

Nearly 6,000 schools, affecting more than 3 million students, have policies in place that permit or require staff to withhold information on a student’s change in gender identity from parents, according to an investigation by Parents Defending Education (PDE).

“This is concerning because we think about this in the context of the fact that parents have to sign a permission slip for kids to have access to an aspirin, go on a field trip, even have sunscreen at school, yet now they’re encouraging students lead double lives and keeping really important information that could impact a child’s mental health from their families,” PDE President Nicole Neily said in an interview with The National Desk.

PDE reports that 168 school districts, encompassing 5,904 schools, currently have in place parental exclusion policies, which do not require parental notice or consent when a child adopts a new gender identity or uses a different name or pronouns. The list contains some of the largest public school districts in the country, including Chicago Public Schools and Los Angeles Unified School District.

But the issue is not restricted to left-leaning cities and states. The list includes schools in deep-blue states like California and New York, but also conservative strongholds like Idaho, where at least 11 districts have such policies in place. The list also featured seven districts in Virginia, the state where Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin made parental rights in education a centerpiece of his successful 2021 campaign.

“This investigation shows that parental exclusion policies are a problem from coast to coast — and that living in a red state doesn’t mean that families are automatically shielded from this issue,” Neily told The New York Post. “Without a doubt, there are hundreds (if not thousands) of others with similar policies on the books. We urge everyone to keep an eye out — and to let us know if they find something similar in their backyard.”

These challenges to parental rights could become federalized if the Biden administration’s proposed Title IX changes are approved in May. The administration is seeking to expand the law, which prohibits sex-based discrimination, to include protections based on gender and gender identity. Parental rights advocates warn that such changes could allow school districts nationwide to keep parents in the dark when their child adopts a new name or gender identity.

But even some on the left believe that excluding parents from such key decisions is going too far. Erica Anderson, a transgender clinical psychologist who counsels children on gender-related issues, filed an amicus brief in a Maryland lawsuit in November arguing against a Maryland school district’s exclusion policy. In the brief, Anderson described social transition, or a child adopting a name, pronouns, and a lifestyle consistent with their new gender identity, as, “a major and potentially life-altering decision that requires parental involvement, for many reasons.”

“I don’t want to be erased as a transgender person, and I don’t want anyone’s prerogatives or identity to be taken away from them,” Anderson told the New York Times in January, “but on this one, I’m aligned with people who are willing to advocate for parents.”