Parents Say Policies Meant To Help Transgender Kids Are Misguided

Many states instruct schools to keep students' 'gender identity' secret

A dean shows off a transgender bathroom in his high school (Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images)
December 8, 2021

In the name of student safety, schools across the country don't tell parents when children decide to use a name and pronouns that better align with their "gender identity." But parents say these decisions miss the mark, keeping vital information from them.

When a school counselor called her to discuss a female student's performance, Jennifer Krecioch assumed the counselor had the wrong number. But she soon found out that the counselor was referring to her son, who had opted to identify as female on a survey his teacher passed out to the class at the start of the school year.

"I can't protect him. I have no right," Krecioch, whose child attends a public school in a Chicago suburb, told the Washington Free Beacon. "I'm his mother. Shouldn't I be the one to decide when my child is ready to become a she or a different name?"

Parental rights in education became a hot-button issue during the coronavirus pandemic, when remote learning gave parents a closer look at school curricula. Parents flocked to school board meetings to express their concerns over radical racial and gender ideologies, among other things. Democrats and their allies in teachers' unions largely ignored parental protests, which cost them at the polls in November.

As opposed to physical transitioning—taking hormone treatments or having surgery to look like the other gender—social transitioning for kids often means adopting a name or nickname and pronouns that better align with a child's "gender identity." While social transitioning is rare, the Free Beacon spoke to two parents who learned their child had begun socially transitioning at school without their knowledge.

Copying policies from teachers' unions and gay rights organizations, several states instruct schools to withhold information related to a student's sexuality or "gender identity" from parents. In Illinois, a student's "transgender, nonbinary, or gender nonconforming identity" may "not be released or disclosed outside of the district staff without the student's explicit consent," according to guidance enacted in March 2020 at the behest of an executive order from Democratic governor J.B. Pritzker.

Advocates of these policies warn that "outing" a student to his or her parents could put that student at risk at home. To avoid this, teachers distribute forms to students that ask them to confidentially share their "gender identity."

The Free Beacon obtained a copy of one such form, which was given to students at Edwardsville High School in Illinois. The form notes that "the teacher(s) of this class will be the only ones who will see your answers" and lets students opt out of having teachers tell their parents what pronouns they use.

In many cases, this attitude goes beyond the individual student. The California Teachers Association instructs educators how to brand LGBT clubs to misdirect parents, Fox News reported this week. Conference attendees discussed rebranding clubs like "Gay Straight Alliance" as the "Equity Club."

One parent who spoke to the Free Beacon on condition of anonymity says her child came out as transgender after joining such a club.

"The schools think they're doing the right thing, but they're not," the parent, a self-proclaimed liberal feminist, said. "They're hiding this from parents and that is not okay. Can we not wait until they're adults? What is the harm in that?"

The youngest generation of adult Americans identify as LGBT at higher rates than any preceding generation, a Gallup survey from February found. Nearly 2 percent of Americans under the age of 25 identify as transgender, compared with 1.2 percent of Millennials and just 0.2 percent each of Generation X and Baby Boomers.

"If you look at the statistics and how many kids are coming out as nonbinary or transgender, you have to ask, is that realistic?" the anonymous parent asked. "Do you really think nature is that wrong?"

Schools' embrace of transgender ideology has pushed some parents to act. In Florida, the parents of one middle-schooler sued their district after officials met with the child to discuss restroom and field trip accommodations without the parents' knowledge. The district violated parents' rights, according to the plaintiffs' suit, by "implementing a protocol which explicitly circumvents parental notification and involvement in critical decisions affecting their children's mental, emotional and physical health," a local news outlet reported.

Erika Sanzi, director of outreach at Parents Defending Education, has spoken to dozens of parents of kids who started transitioning at school. She attributes the uptick in identifying as transgender to both social pressure and the infiltration of transgender ideology in the classroom. Sanzi says "activists" in schools pressure parents into backing down when their children want to change genders.

"Either go along with this with your kid, or your kid will commit suicide," Sanzi said. "It's one of these myths that gets repeated over and over and over until people are convinced this must be true."

Sanzi warns that school administrators who encourage students to "transition" do not think about the longterm consequences of their actions.

"If you fast forward three, four, five years, a lot of [these students] will detransition," Sanzi said. "When that happens, a lot of these counselors are gone, and when the wheels come off, the only people there for the kids are their parents."