By DAVID BOYLE
If you thought the main purpose of sending your children to a public school was so they learn to read and write, you may be in for a surprise.
While only 43% of Anchorage students are proficient at grade level in English/language arts for the school year 2020-21, the Anchorage School District Office of Equity and Compliance has focused on how to assist transgender students and employees in a 10-page directive.
This agenda appears to be more important than teaching students how to read and do math.
To understand what this means, the “Administrative Guidelines: Working with Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students and Employees” can be seen at this link.
These guidelines define a transgender individual as one who “consistently asserts a gender identity/expression at school that is different from the gender assigned at birth.”
The district fails to define the term “consistently.”
To ensure the transgender student is protected, the principal is charged with developing a plan to address the needs of the transgender student. However, parents can be left out of this planning process. The district says, “Parents and others…may be included in this meeting depending on what is needed to develop a plan for the individual.” They key difference are the words “may be included.”
It seems this power rests solely with the principal and the student. Parents need not be involved. Realize that supposedly up to this point, the school board/district has repeatedly said when students are failing, the parents are responsible. Yet in a major life changing, permanent decision, the transgender student can decide without parental involvement.
Aren’t parents responsible for the actions/behavior of their students? Why does the ASD believe that parents don’t need to be involved in such a drastic change?
It appears as if the ASD is also trying to conceal from parents by stating, “When contacting the parent or guardian of a transgender student, school staff should use the student’s legal name and the pronoun corresponding to the student’s gender at birth.” At this time, it doesn’t matter what the student allegedly wants to be called. This is a way to keep the parents in the dark.
This is even more apparent when the district addresses the gender transition of secondary (middle and high school) students. The district believes that it should work with the student prior to notifying the parent/guardian of a gender transition. This may include not notifying the parent/guardian of the gender transition.
Then the school staff controls the degree of parental involvement in the student transition process. Who is supposed to pay for this treatment? Is that when you involve the parents to get to their health insurance? Or is that not needed?
Most of these middle school students and high school students are minors and parents are responsible for these students’ actions. To leave parents out of 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 left out of planning for their students’ gender transition. The principal is the responsible person for this plan. This places a tremendous onus on a principal, who must assume most of the risk for this decision process.
What if a transgender student has hormone treatments and surgery and years later regrets that decision? Will the ASD and the principal be held responsible for encouraging this student to go forward with the gender-changing process?
Whose children are they?
It looks like the answer is “it depends.” If they are failing at school of are a problem student at school, the parents own it.
But if they’re in want of a sex change? The principal owns it. Parents need not apply.
David Boyle is former executive director of Alaska Policy Forum and is Must Read Alaska’s education writer.