By DAVE DONLEY
At the Anchorage School Board Sept. 19 meeting, over 20 community members and parents testified for parental rights and against current the district guidelines that discourage the district staff from advising parents when their middle or high school students decide they want to be called by a different name or gender pronoun.
In response to this public concern, I submitted a school board resolution to the School Board president to adopt a board policy that overrides existing administrative guidelines by reversing the current presumption against notifying parents of secondary students regarding pronoun and gender status changes.
At the Oct. 12 meeting, I sought co-sponsors for this resolution. So far, I have had no support from other board members. Current Anchorage School Board rules are that for a resolution to be considered by the full board it must have at least two board members supporting it. My resolution currently has just one sponsor -– myself.
Federal law prohibits school districts from not providing parents with accurate and full information about their students. In Anchorage, the guidelines recommend just not telling the parents when it happens. If a parent does happen to ask, the district must tell them the truth about student names, pronouns, and gender selections.
It is important not to refer to the current Anchorage School District administrative guidelines regarding gender identity as “policy.” Only the School Board can adopt policy.
Additionally, all administrative regulations must be based on board-adopted policy and be published under the policy they are based on. These gender “administrative guidelines” are neither and have never been voted on by the Anchorage School Board.
Specifically, the current administrative guidelines in regard to secondary students, Section XIV B. reads: “Generally, notification of a student’s parent about his or her gender identity, expression or transition is unnecessary.”
These guidelines can be found on the ASD Website / Departments / Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Community Engagement / Students-Title IX / More about Title IX / Transgender Guidelines / Administrative Guidelines: Working with Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students and Employees.
Simple to find? They are not. You have to dig through many layers to get there. But now you have the direct link right here.
The ASD administration created a new department entitled: “Office of Equity and Compliance.” At the time, I opined that it sounded more like a bureau in the Soviet Union than an American school district. It has since been renamed multiple times and is now called: “Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Community Engagement.” It this within this department that these “administrative guidelines” exist.
Some supporters of the “guidelines” have asserted they are consistent with board policy against discrimination. This is an erroneousjustification, as these guidelines against notifying parents have no direct relation with even potential discrimination. In fact, other sections of the “guidelines” unfairly discriminate against biological girls in sports in direct violation of the Board’s anti-discrimination policy. That policy (BP 0410) clearly calls for “equal opportunity” and having biological boys competing against biological girls is scientifically not “equal opportunity.”
As a Board member I have inquired whether the administrative guidelines regarding working with transgender and gender nonconforming students and employees are inconsistent with current court decisions.
As a Board Member I have inquired whether the administrative guidelines regarding working with transgender and gender nonconforming students and employees are inconsistent with current court decisions.
Based on its current legal guidance the Administration stated it will continue to await anticipated changes to federal Title IX guidance before proposing adjustments to the guidelines.
Dave Donley serves on the Anchorage School Board. This communication is from Dave Donley as an individual member of the Anchorage School Board and is not on behalf of or intended to represent the School Board or the Anchorage School District.