- A representative of the Gender and Sexuality Development Program at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) trained school faculty to advise them on how to support a kindergartner changing their gender, according to documents obtained through a public records request by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
- CHOP’s gender clinic has come under fire for providing children beginning at age eight with medical interventions such as puberty blockers.
- “I believe this is a great starting point for our education, not just as a school but, district wide,” Stephanie Hultquist, principal of Edgewood Elementary, a school within the Council Rock School District, wrote following the meeting with King in 2021.
A representative of a child gender clinic trained teachers from two Pennsylvania school districts in 2019 and 2021 to help facilitate elementary school children’s gender transitions, according to documents obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
An employee of the Gender and Sexuality Development Program at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) met with faculty from Pennsbury School District and Council Rock School District, advising them on how to support students, including one in kindergarten, attempting to change their gender, according to documents obtained through a public records request. CHOP’s gender clinic has previously come under fire for referring kids as young as 14 years old for cross-sex surgeries, such as mastectomies or breast construction. (RELATED: Here’s What A Children’s Hospital Quietly Scrubbed From The Internet Amid Public Backlash Over Gender Transitions)
In 2021, Samantha King, the manager of education initiatives at CHOP’s gender clinic, met with elementary school staff at Pennsbury School District to discuss how to support an incoming kindergartner whom they referred to as transgender. Additionally, in 2019, King presented a PowerPoint to a handful of teachers from schools within Council Rock School District on helping gender-transitioning students in the district.
CHOP’s gender clinic provides children with medical interventions such as puberty blockers, which it prescribes to children as young as eight, according to statements and documents reviewed by the DCNF. In 2021, the clinic’s co-founders, Dr. Linda Hawkins and Dr. Nadia Dowshen, promoted “top surgery,” such as mastectomies or breast construction, for children.
Pennsbury School District
Ahead of Pennsbury School District’s 2021-2022 school year, King arranged a meeting with the Edgewood Elementary principal, along with the school guidance counselor and other staff members, to evaluate how to support an incoming transgender kindergartner, documents show. The May 2021 meeting was held at the request of the incoming transgender student’s parents, who had already been meeting with King and the CHOP gender clinic.
“We’ve been working with the CHOP Gender Clinic for about a year now and they have incredible resources for families with gender diverse youth – including helping kids get started with their new schools,” a parent of the transgender kindergartner said in an email to Stephanie Hultquist, principal of Edgewood Elementary.
“I believe this is a great starting point for our education, not just as a school but, district wide,” Hultquist later wrote ahead of the meeting with King in 2021.
Pennsbury School District’s Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Dr. Cherrissa Gibson reached out to King in November 2021 asking her to host a training for K-12 teachers on how to create “gender inclusive and affirming educational environments.” The district donated $1,200 to CHOP for two training sessions, one for K-5 teachers and another for 6-12 grade educators, that were held in April 2022.
During the April 2022 training of Pennsbury School District’s K-5 teachers, King used a “gender unicorn” to teach that while biological sex comes from genitalia, gender identity comes from the head. King taught 6-12 grade educators that gender exploration is “normal and valid” no matter the age of a child.
“It is not okay to tell someone they aren’t who they say they are,” the workshop advised teachers to say. “Since Sam knows herself best, if Sam says she is a girl then that is true. Let’s show kindness and respect by not questioning her.”
Council Rock School District
In April 2019, Kelsey Black, elementary school psychologist for Council Rock School District, asked King if she would come speak to the district’s sixth grade teachers to discuss a student who is transitioning genders, documents show. King had previously hosted a panel in January 2019 for the district faculty, mainly counselors and psychologists, which featured a “20-year-old transgender/nonconforming male” and a retired high school teacher, who spoke about their “experiences navigating school” and family.
King met with a handful of Maureen W. Welsh Elementary School teachers and faculty regarding the support of a sixth grade student’s gender transition in April 2019, the documents show. King prepared a PowerPoint presentation for the educators, and noted that she would allow ample time for the staff to ask questions on “supporting this students’ transition.”
In September 2019, Black reached out to King again asking her to guide faculty, including counselors and principals as well as art, music, gym and library teachers, on how to handle a student who was transitioning genders within the district at Newton Elementary School, the documents showed.
“This is a very new occurrence for them, so they will be extremely thankful for all the information,” Black wrote to King in September 2019 regarding a planned training. “I also anticipate that they will have several questions for you, as this is uncharted territory for them. The student is requesting to be called a different name (and mom is supportive of this request), but the team is holding off on making any changes until they hear from you. I think they are weary about how to address this with the other students.”
King followed up with Black in October 2019 asking to discuss a potential training for faculty within Council Rock High School South, including that the gender clinic currently had a “handful of students” enrolled there.
It’s unclear if King met with faculty from Council Rock High School South, but the gender clinic staff member later met with district educators in January 2020 to discuss how to create a “gender inclusive classroom” and how to use “gender inclusive language” with students, according to the documents.Through 2018-2021, the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) granted the gender clinic more than $176,000 to create a series of webinars and in-person trainings for mental health providers called the “Transgender Therapy Training Workshops.” The trainings, designed for mental health providers, taught that someone’s transgender status is “confidential” and should not be disclosed unless the individual gives permission to do so.
CHOP, Pennsbury School District, Council Rock School District, King and Black did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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