PA school district requires teachers keep students' gender identity secret from parents

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A Pennsylvania school district has been revealed to require that its staff withhold information from parents about their child’s gender identity, and recommends that teachers speak privately with students who identify as transgender to find out how they would like to be addressed in communication with their parents.

The Lower Merion School District (LMSD) policy to ensure “equity and nondiscrimination” for transgender and gender diverse (TGD) students advises school personnel not to “disclose information about a TGD student’s gender identity and expression to others, including the student’s parents/guardians…unless legally required to do so.”

The board explains that this is because students “have a right to privacy,” and have the right “to openly discuss and express their gender identity and expression, and to decide when, with whom, and how much information to share.”

Staff are instructed to refer to students by the name and pronouns that correspond to their gender identity but are cautioned that “there may be situations (e.g. communications with family…) where it may be necessary and recommended for staff to be informed of the student’s legal name and gender.”

School personnel who are unsure how to refer to a student in communication with their parent or guardian are advised to “privately ask the student.”

Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro’s new selection for Secretary of Education, Dr. Khalid N. Mumin, is the former superintendent of LMSD.

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