By Amy Carney
In most of America’s public schools, parents must sign permission slips for their minor child to watch a PG-13-rated movie or take over-the-counter medication while at school. Yet students are being allowed to meet secretly with staff in some schools to discuss their sexuality or gender dysphoria without mom or dad ever knowing or giving consent.
School districts nationwide are implementing secretive gender support plans, and parents and community leaders are beginning to call them out.
Iowa’s Linn-Mar Community School District adopted a policy designed to invoke students’ “gender transition” and to keep their actions secret from their parents. The policy also states that other students will be punished for not using a student’s preferred pronouns when speaking or who voice certain opinions concerning transgender issues.
The Administrative Regulations Regarding Transgender and Students Nonconforming to Gender Role Stereotypes policy is clear that parents need not be told about these developments stating that “any student in seventh grade or older will have priority of their support plan over their parent/ guardian.”
The student (who is under the age of consent and cannot enter into contracts) gets to decide who will participate in the meeting. If they do not want the parents to be there, they will not be notified, as stated in the policy “The student should agree with who is a part of the meeting, including whether their parent/guardian will participate.”
The policy states that “the district shall not disclose information that may reveal a student’s transgender status to others, including but not limited to other students, parents, and school staff unless legally required to do so… or unless the student has authorized such disclosure. All persons, including students, have a right to privacy which includes the right to keep one’s transgender status private at school.” Through this policy, teachers are given permission to ask all students at the beginning of each semester how they want to be addressed in class and communications with their parent or guardian.
Notably, the District will not tell parents whether their child has requested or been given a Gender Support Plan, whether the child has made requests or actions have been taken concerning their gender identity, or whether it has any other information that would reveal the child’s “transgender status.”
Thankfully, parents and pro-family organizations across the country are standing up and speaking out. An amicus brief, Parents Defending Education v. Linn-Mar Community School District, was filed, and oral arguments are set to take place at the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Paul, Minnesota, on February 15, 2023. The brief states that “Perhaps there is no more astonishing example of “los[ing] sight of the basic purposes of schooling” than the case before this Court concerning the secret transitioning of children from one gender to another without the knowledge of parents.”
The Linn-Mar School District’s actions directly conflict with one of the most ancient liberties of parents to direct their children’s upbringing, education, and care. Undermining fundamental parental rights undermines our culture, and we must protect our children and families by standing against the destructive secretive Gender Support Plan policies being implemented in our schools.
Parents must be proactive, learn if this is happening in their school district, and let their elected officials and administrators know that this is unacceptable and a violation of their parental rights.