Jessica Bradshaw told the New York Times that she found an assignment from her son 15 years old, with a name I didn’t know at the top. Thus, with a scribble, it was that she discovered that her son identified himself as transgender in its schoolin the south of California, USAwhere they had let him use the men’s room for six months and called him by his masculine pronouns.
“There was never a word from anyone to let us know that on paper and in the classroom, our daughter was a son”. Although the woman was confused and wondered if the school needed her permission or at least tell her about her son’s decision, a student counselor explained that he didn’t want her parents to know and also , district and state policies instructed the school to respect his wishes.
The student defended the school, as he told the Times that he had already tried to talk to his parents about the issue, however, he said that they did not take him seriously, so he decided to ask his educational center for help. “Schools are just trying to do their best to keep students safe and comfortable. When you’re trans, you feel like you’re in danger all the time. Even though my parents agreed, I was still scared and that’s why the school didn’t tell them.”
The public school that Jessica Bradshaw’s son attends is one of many in the United States that allow students to socially transition, that is, change their name, pronouns, or gender expression, without parental consent.
Although they recognize that they want to involve parents in the process, the institutions choose to follow federal and state guidelines that protect students from discrimination and violations of their privacy.
Nevertheless, many parents whose children made their gender transition in schools, and without their permission, acknowledged that they feel “mistreated by educators” and became upset, because they believe that “schools know what is better for their children than they themselves do” . In fact, they claimed that educators should not be involved in notifying parents unless there is evidence of physical abuse in the home.
Also, there are parent groups that are outright against gender transition and feel that schools have put transgender children on a path that they are “not qualified to supervise.”
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This is where the rights of children collide with the “rights of parents”, a term used by Republicans to defend the decisions that parents can make about the upbringing of their children. In fact, Local conservative groups filed lawsuits against school districts for “failing to involve parents in their children’s education and mental health care.”
However, despite the fact that the most conservative groups are believed to be working to delegitimize public education and eradicate the rights of transgender people, The concern of parents of all political persuasions about how the school treats their children’s information and prefers not to disclose it, is transversal.
The number of young people who identify as transgender in the United States is still limited, but has nearly doubled in recent years. For this reason, schools have seen the need to address the needs of transgender youth, despite the polarized political environment.
In their defense, these institutions have pointed to research showing how inclusive policies benefit all students, which is why education experts advise that students be able to use their preferred nouns and pronouns in schools.
Additionally, educators acknowledged that they feel “obliged by their own morality” to affirm students’ gender identities. “My job, which is a public service, is to protect children,” said Olivia Garrison, a history teacher in California. The educator helped students to make their social transition and argued that sometimes there are cases where children need to protect themselves from their own family, because not all children have safe spaces at home.
Thus, in a wave of demands from parents to schools, some teachers have been penalized for notifying parents that their children’s name and pronoun changed, and the American Civil Liberties Union declared that it is unconstitutional for public schools to reveal a student’s gender identity to others. In fact, one of the members of this institution said that “angry parents can put their children in a private school or educate them at home.”
Schools that help their students transition their gender, without telling their families – La Tercera