US state encourages schools to deceive parents
The Oregon Department of Education has come under fire for a document published on Thursday, titled “Supporting Gender Expansive Students: Guidance for Schools,” which appears to counsel school staff to help students conceal their “expansive” gender identities from their parents.
If a student declares a new gender identity, the guide instructs school districts to immediately begin treating them in accordance with that identity, informing teachers of their new name and pronouns, and updating their name on school records.
However, schools shouldn’t run to the student’s parents with their child’s decision, according to the guide. “To the extent possible, schools should refrain from revealing information about a student’s gender identity, even to parents,” it states, noting that students might have “privacy concerns about students, school staff, community members or their families finding out before they are ready to share their identity more widely.”
The guide also encourages litigiousness, recommending staff, parents, or students who witness what they believe to be harassment over gender identity or sexual orientation to file a Title IX discrimination complaint. Such “discrimination” could involve a transgender student denied the opportunity to play on a sports team that “most aligns with their gender,” or failure to provide a gender-nonconforming student with their desired bathroom facilities or “peer rooming assignments” on field trips, and staff are encouraged to undergo special training in order to be able to better recognize such issues.
Parents’ rights groups have come out against the guide. “Oregon is demonstrating for parents that once again academics and education are not the priority of our government school system,” Laura Zorc of Building Education for Students Together told the Daily Caller on Friday, pointing out that every hour spent teaching gender issues was one not spent in academic education.
Department of Education Director Colt Gill justified the guide in his introduction, reasoning that the last 18 months had seen “record numbers of proposed and sometimes passed legislation, political vitriol and dehumanizing media coverage against gender-affirming education and healthcare nationwide.”
A spokesperson for the Department of Education clarified that while “parent support and involvement is a priority... when students identify that notifying their family may be a safety concern, we do encourage schools to prioritize the student’s safety within all school environments.”
Self-reported data indicates that 8% of students in Oregon identify as “transgender, questioning, or gender-expansive.”