Anchorage school district claims key decisions on gender identity and plans to keep parents in the dark
By David Boyle
If you thought the main purpose of sending your children to public school was to teach them to read and write, you might be surprised.
With only 43% of Anchorage students proficient in English/Language Arts at the grade level for the 2020-21 school year, the Anchorage School District’s Office of Equity and Compliance has focused on how to help transgender students and employees in a 10-page guideline.
This program seems to be more important than teaching students to read and do math.
To understand what this means, the “Administrative Guidelines: Working with Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students and Employees” can be viewed. at this link.
These guidelines define a transgender person as someone who “consistently affirms a gender identity/expression at school that is different from the gender assigned at birth.”
The district fails to define the term “constantly”.
To ensure that the transgender student is protected, the principal is responsible for developing a plan to meet the needs of the transgender student. However, parents may be excluded from this planning process. The district says, “Parents and others…may be included in this meeting as needed to develop a plan for the individual.” The main difference is in the words “may be included”.
It seems that this power rests solely with the director and the student. Parents do not need to be involved. Realize that so far the school board has repeatedly said that when students fail, parents are responsible. Yet, in a major and permanent life-altering decision, the transgender student can decide without the involvement of their parents.
Are parents not responsible for the actions/behaviours of their students? Why does the ASD believe that parents do not need to be involved in such a drastic change?
It appears that the ASD is also trying to hide from parents by stating, “When contacting the parent or guardian of a transgender student, school personnel should use the student’s legal name and pronoun. corresponding to the pupil’s sex at birth”. At this point, it doesn’t matter what name the student supposedly wants to be called. It’s a way of keeping parents in the dark.
This is even more evident when the district addresses the gender transition of high school (middle and high school) students. The district believes it should work with the student before notifying the parent/guardian of a gender transition. This may include not informing the parent/guardian of the gender transition.
Next, school staff monitor the degree of parental involvement in the student transition process. Who is supposed to pay for this treatment? Is that when you involve parents in accessing their health insurance? Or is it not necessary?
Most of these middle and high school students are minors and parents are responsible for the actions of these students. To exclude parents from the decision-making process, the ASD has provided a “Plan to Address Title IX Gender Issues” document template. Here is the document:
Note that parents are excluded from gender transition planning for their students. The director is the person responsible for this plan. This places a huge burden on the principal, who must bear most of the risk involved in this decision-making process.
What if a transgender student undergoes hormone treatments and surgery and years later regrets the decision? Will the DEA and principal be held responsible for encouraging this student to move forward with the gender change process?
Whose children are they?
The answer seems to be “it depends”. If they fail in school or are a problem student in school, the parents own them.
But if they want to change sex? The principal owns it. Parents do not need to apply.
David Boyle is the former executive director of the Alaska Policy Forum and the author of Must Read Alaska on Education.