EXCLUSIVE: Philadelphia Gender Clinic Trained Employees At School That Hides Students’ Gender Identities From Parents

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Chrissy Clark Education Reporter
Font Size:

A Philadelphia gender clinic provided training materials to public school employees in a Pennsylvania district that asks educators to use students’ preferred names and pronouns without informing parents, according to training slides and emails obtained exclusively by the Daily Caller.

A Southern Lehigh School District guidance counselor emailed the training materials from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) to several educators on Sept. 15, 2021. Several district employees attended the CHOP training off-site, and one disseminated the information to colleagues.

Approximately three weeks later, the district’s intermediate school principal sent an email to educators stating that they should not inform parents about a child’s perceived gender identity. The intermediate school’s vice principal was a direct recipient of the CHOP training materials.

The presentation obtained by the Caller called for schools to be “affirming” of a children’s perceived gender identities. Educators are encouraged to use the word “students” instead of “boys and girls” when referring to the classroom. CHOP also urged educators to include “examples of LGBTQ people in lessons,” beginning in elementary school.

CHOP recommends that elementary schoolers read books about pronouns, such as “They, She, He Easy As ABC,” and books about young boys dressing in drag, such as “Julian Is A Mermaid.” The materials also call on middle and high school classrooms to “critically examine roles and messages (now and throughout history)” and to “build allies and advocacy.”

The training goes on to encourage educators to “follow [a] child’s lead” and to “allow room for exploration” of his or her gender.

In separate training sessions provided by CHOP to school districts throughout Pennsylvania in 2020, the gender clinic told educators to keep students’ gender identities secret from parents.

“If we disclose this information without someone’s involvement, without them giving us permission, we are setting them up for a negative, potentially harmful, unsafe experience,” the training video says. “So when we get this information, we keep it private from other students, from other staff members and from parents.”

Emails reviewed by the Caller show that a guidance counselor sent the CHOP presentation to at least 18 recipients, including an administrator. Concerned parents asked the Caller not to name the counselor out of concern that public outcry would distract from the policies at hand.

Southern Lehigh School District Superintendent Mike Mahon told the Caller that the individual who sent the presentation is “not a district administrator,” meaning that her email does not “represent district policy.”

“CHOP is a highly respected organization that does amazing work for children. Recommendations from organizations like CHOP are often considered in the development of practices/policy but are not determinative,” Mahon said.

Mahon also noted that the district does not have a board-approved policy regarding gender identity.

CHOP has provided at least 33 trainings in 15 schools since 2017, according to the hospital’s website. (RELATED: Philadelphia Gender Clinic Hosts Trainings In Pennsylvania Schools)

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia did not respond to the Caller’s request for comment.