Thousands of Schools Won’t Tell Parents About Kids’ Gender Transition: Report
More than 5,000 schools across the nation allow teachers to hide a child’s decision to identify as a member of the opposite sex from the child’s parents. The parental exclusion policy — which is heavily advocated by LGBT lobbying groups and applies to more than 3.2 million children nationally — has already resulted in the sexual trafficking of at least one young girl.
A total of 5,904 schools in 168 school districts nationwide allow, or require, teachers to conceal children’s transgender “social transition” — in which children change their name or preferred pronouns, or begin using the locker rooms of the opposite sex — from their parents. School districts keeping legal guardians ignorant about their children’s life-altering decisions stretch from Portland, Maine, to Portland, Oregon, and from Alaska to Arizona.
“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,” said Nicole Neily, president of Parents Defending Education (PDE), which compiled the list. PDE discovered four districts in deep-red Kansas that have adopted the policy, crafted by LGBT activists. For example, Wichita Public Schools’ teacher training claims, “The lack of using [a child’s preferred] pronouns could lead to death.”
In all, PDE reports, such policies affect 3,268,752 students — and their parents — in 28 states and the District of Columbia.
“This list is not comprehensive,” the report notes.
A Virginia high school’s decision to conceal a teenage girl’s gender transition ended with the teen being drugged, gang-raped and, on two separate occasions, sexually trafficked. In August 2021, 14-year-old Sage began attending Appomattox County High School. Her biological grandmother, Michele, who legally adopted her, said Sage told her “all the girls there were bi, trans, lesbian, emo,” and Sage soon decided she “wanted to wear boys’ clothes.” But Michele added, Sage told school officials “she was now a boy named Draco with male pronouns. Sage asked the school not to tell me, and they did not tell me.”
After a group of boys accosted and threatened to rape her in the boys’ restroom, Michele took Sage home and found a pass made out to “Draco.” Michele said Sage was too afraid to return to school, so she ran away to meet an online “friend,” who sexually trafficked her through Washington, D.C. and Maryland. By the time the FBI found her locked inside a room in Baltimore nine days later, Michele recalled, Sage had been “locked in a room, drugged, gang-raped, and brutalized by countless men.”
“One of the expert witnesses in the hearing [on January 30] confirms that online predators do target social media accounts of children who list themselves as ‘ftm’ or ‘female to male,’” Delegate David LaRock (R-Berryville) told The Daily Signal.
But Sage’s nightmare had only begun. A judge accused Michele and her husband of inflicting “emotional and physical abuse” by “misgendering” their granddaughter. The judge had Sage committed to the male section of a children’s home, where she was “repeatedly beaten” and “given street drugs,” Michele said. Sage ran away from the home, but the FBI found her in the grips of a sexual trafficking in Texas. Sage had again “been drugged, raped, beaten, and exploited.”
Reports of schools allowing or encouraging minors to “socially transition” to another gender have trickled out, as outraged parents have taken legal action against the districts on PDE’s list. A coalition of parents sued Iowa’s Linn-Mar Community School District last summer. Last month, Amber Lavigne filed a lawsuit against the Great Salt Bay Community School in the coastal Maine village of Damariscotta — population 2,300 — after she found a chest binder in her 13-year-old daughter’s belongings. A social worker facilitated the child’s decision to identify as another gender, and the school withheld all information from her mother, according to her legal counsel. “The school never stopped trying to keep me in the dark at every turn, repeatedly stonewalling me when I tried to find out what was going on,” said an exasperated Lavigne, who is represented by the Goldwater Institute. “My parental rights aren’t up for debate: I deserve to know what’s happening to my child in school.”
“Counselors and teachers didn’t tell Sage’s family about the fact that she was transgender. And she got caught up in some horrific human trafficking issues, and they almost lost her,” Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin (R) told a CNN townhall last Wednesday. “There’s a basic rule here, which is that children belong to parents — not to the state, not to schools, not to bureaucrats, but to parents.”
Last September, Youngkin enacted model school guidelines that affirm, “School personnel shall keep parents fully informed about all matters that may be reasonably expected to be important to a parent.” Parents may “determine (a) what names, nicknames, and/or pronouns, if any, shall be used for their child by teachers and school staff while their child is at school, (b) whether their child engages in any counseling or social transition at school that encourages a gender that differs from their child’s sex, or (c) whether their child expresses a gender that differs with their child’s sex while at school,” the guidelines add.
Despite Youngkin’s actions, the report lists seven school districts in Virginia that continue to hide social transition from parents.
To remedy the situation, LaRock introduced “Sage’s Law” (H.B. 2432), which requires school officials to contact parents if a child begins using names or pronouns not consistent with his or her sex. The bill passed the House of Delegates on February 6 by a narrow 50-48, party-line vote. (Democratic Delegate Cliff Hayes also intended to vote no.) It is currently under Senate consideration.
The Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives is taking steps to assure no American parent is frozen out of his or her child’s life decisions. Last week, House Republicans advanced a measure barring any federally funded elementary or middle school from changing a “minor child’s gender markers, pronouns, or preferred name” on any school form, or allowing students to use the restrooms and changing facilities of the opposite sex. The House Education and the Workforce Committee adopted the measure — originally introduced as a separate bill, the Parental Rights Over the Education and Care of Their (PROTECT) Kids Act, by Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) — as an amendment to the Parents Bill of Rights (H.R. 5). Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.) introduced a companion bill in the Senate (S. 200).
Walberg, an ordained pastor who once worked for the Moody Bible Institute, found it “unconscionable that some believe that parents should be kept in the dark regarding gender transitions of their own children. He urged Congress to “ensure that schools do not hide important information about children from their own parents,” “increase transparency, and defend the God-given authority and rights of parents.”
President Joe Biden is all but certain to veto such a bill. The president’s now-inactive nonprofit, the Biden Foundation, partnered with Gender Spectrum, a group whose “Gender Support Plan” tells schools to have “contingencies in place” if parents find out their child is “being supported” against their will. Since taking office, Biden has said transgenderism reflects “the image of God.”
“Frighteningly, this only begins to scratch the surface of what is taking place behind closed doors in America’s schools,” said Neily. “Without a doubt, there are hundreds (if not thousands) of others with similar policies on the books.”
Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.