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Michigan Middle School Hides Student’s Gender Transition from Parents

June 11, 2022

Teachers at Richards Middle School in Fraser, Michigan have been hiding the transgender status of a biological male student from parents. Earlier this week, Fox News obtained an email from a counselor at the public school warning teachers to not inform the mother of the student that her child was going by a different name and pronoun. This message sent ahead of the school’s parent teacher conference directed parents to only use the student’s “birth name” and the pronoun “he” when addressing the parent who is unaware of their child’s transition. 

Fraser Public School teachers and school employees follow various resources on gender equity, including a document by the Michigan Department of Education that advised against disclosing a student’s gender identity to parents. 

“Parents are more than entitled to know everything about their children,” said Meg Kilgannon, senior fellow for Education Studies at Family Research Council. “And when we entrust our children into anyone else’s care, it is a validation that we have given them. It’s not their place to supersede the role of the parent. So anybody who would hide things from parents is putting themselves in the place of the parent, and that’s very dangerous for children.”

The former Republican Governor Rick Snyder issued the guidance that argues that students who identify as transgender “have the right to decide when, with whom, and to what extent to share private information.”

A spokesperson from Fraser Public School admitted that the district was hiding the gender status from the student’s parents. The spokesperson mentioned that “the district is mindful of and compliant with its obligations under Title IX law.”

Kilgannon stressed that this is a “misinterpretation” of Title IX, a 1972 federal civil rights law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in education facilities. 

“There has been so much controversy at the moment because the current administration is in the process of rewriting the rules and they want to make it [Title IX] apply to sexual orientation and gender identity.” 

In 2016, under the administration of former President Barack Obama, the Department of Education issued guidance that prohibited discrimination on the basis of gender identity and ordered teachers to treat students in a way that is consistent with their chosen gender. When former President Donald Trump took office, this guidance was rescinded. The reasoning behind this decision was that Title IX protections only apply to biological sex and not gender identity. President Biden changed the guidance once again in 2021 by extending Title IX protections to gender identity. 

“The fact that the schools see themselves as the very best advocates for children is just bizarre,” said Kilgannon. “And it’s very dangerous for children, because parents are the best protectors of their children.”

Deborah Laker serves as a staff writer at The Washington Stand.