EXCLUSIVE: Pennsylvania Middle School Asks Teachers To Use Students’ Preferred Name, Pronouns Without Informing Parents

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Chrissy Clark Education Reporter
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A Pennsylvania school for students aged nine to 12 years old told educators they must use students’ preferred names and pronouns without informing the students’ parents, according to internal emails obtained by the Daily Caller.

The principal of Southern Lehigh School District’s Intermediate School sent an email to the entire staff Oct. 7, 2021, informing educators they must use the name and pronouns associated with a student’s perceived gender identity.

In the same email, the principal instructed educators to not inform a student’s parents about their child’s perceived gender identity. Concerned parents asked the Daily Caller not to name the principal for fear that public outcry against the administrator would distract from addressing the policies the parents are against.

“If a student shares with you that they are either questioning their gender identity or would prefer you to call them a name or pronoun that does not appear to match their biological sex, you should do this,” the email read.

“If a student shares with you that they are homosexual, transgender, bisexual, or questioning, they are doing this in confidence, just as much as they would with our guidance staff. This is not something you should report to parents, and definitely something you should share with our guidance staff,” the email continued.

The principal appeared to instruct educators to defer to the students regarding gender, instead of the students’ parents. Educators were told to ask students what name and pronouns to use when talking with their parents.

Southern Lehigh School District’s Intermediate School appears to allow transgender-identifying students to use the restroom that corresponds with their perceived gender identity. The principal’s email claims it may be a “potential Title IX sex discrimination violation” to bar transgender students “from restrooms that align with their gender identity.”

A concerned parent, who spoke with the Daily Caller on the condition of anonymity out of fear of reprisal, said he finds the idea the school district may be concealing “essential information about their child’s mental state” from parents “deeply disturbing and obviously unacceptable.”

“The idea that a principal is requiring teachers to take direction from students as young as nine years old on how to communicate with parents is patently absurd,” the parent said. “This is a ridiculous abdication of responsibility.”

The Pennsylvania-based parent also said the guidance poses “serious issues of parental rights, transparency, freedom of speech, and freedom of religion … both under federal law and state law.” The parent argued Southern Lehigh School District may be inhibiting an educator’s First Amendment rights by coercing speech that contradicts an educator’s sincerely held beliefs. (RELATED: Kansa Teacher Wins $95,000 After Being Suspended, Refusing To Comply With Preferred Pronoun Guidance)

Michael Mahon, the district’s superintendent, refused to answer the Daily Caller’s questions. He said in a written statement that the district supports all students and all decisions are driven by respect for staff, students and families.

“Southern Lehigh School District supports all students in ways that are specific to each unique individual,” Mahon said in the statement. “The district recognizes that it is strongest when we partner with our families. At all times our decisions and actions are driven by a respect for the civil rights of our staff, students, and their families.”

Southern Lehigh Intermediate School’s principal referred the Daily Caller to Mahon’s statement.