Delaware is considering adopting a policy that will let young students in school choose whatever name, gender, or race they want under a veil of school protection mandating that the parents not be informed of these decisions unless the student explicitly wishes the parent be included.
Drafted by Delaware Gov. John Carney, the anti-discrimination policy states that children from K-12 can choose their own name, identify with whatever race or gender they feel most comfortable with, and even access hormone blockers necessary to transition without the consent of their parents. Regulation 225 “Prohibition Of Discrimination” also indicates that students will be able to join any sports team they choose and can use bathrooms and showers according their chosen identity.
Many parents have become outraged over this proposed policy, charging that it violates their right as parents to care for their children without government intrusion. “As a parent, I have fundamental rights to the care, custody, control, upbringing and information regarding my child,” said concerned parent Kay Fox, according to WBOC.
Critics of the policy also worry that it puts the privacy and safety of all students at risk, given that it will allow students to claim a certain gender so that they can access the locker rooms, showers, restrooms, and overnight quarters of the opposite sex.
“It opens Pandora’s Box,” Rep. Rich Collins said, according to Delaware State News. “It has the potential to twist schools up in knots,” he added.
Proponents of the policy however, see it as a necessarily thorough measure that will protect transgender students and minorities from discrimination.
“The comprehensive nature of the protective characteristics makes it a really good regulation. It’s very broad in terms of the groups of students it protects,” Mark Purpura, a member of the policy development team, told WBOC. Purpura did admit however, that the over 11,000 public comments submitted to Delaware’s Department of Education (DOE) regarding the policy have almost all been negative.
The state’s DOE is expected to make a decision on whether to revise the draft of the policy or to implement it as is in the coming months, and it will develop a school curriculum to introduce the policy given the latter.
The District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) also issued guidance in 2016 indicating that students who feel they are transgender can elect to have their parents participate in the transition process, but that they don’t have to tell their parents about their transition if they don’t wish to.
A similar set of guidelines from Chicago Public Schools instructs staff not to tell parents about their child’s gender transition without the child’s permission. Policy guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Education also instruct school personnel to speak with the student first before discussing a student’s gender nonconformity or transgender status with the student’s parent or guardian. The Oregon Department of Education also issued similar policy guidelines. (RELATED: Public School Districts Are Cutting Parents Out Of Their Child’s Gender Transition).
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