EHT Transgender Policy: Kids, We Don’t Have to Tell Your Parents
If you have a student in the Egg Harbor Township Schools, you may be familiar with the fact that the school board is looking to implement a policy concerning transgender students.
The way I read it, the school board, through the proposed policy, is saying that it's OK to lie to your parents.
I'm not a lawyer, and maybe I'm misunderstanding what I'm reading in the policy, so you can check it out online, like I did.
DISCLOSURE: I live in the Egg Harbor Township School District. My kids are older, and no longer in the school system.
DISCLOSURE: I love and respect every person on earth. I see them all as children of God, and I don't mean harm to anyone's thoughts or beliefs with this story.
So, here's what I'm seeing in this policy: Students, including those classified by the law as "minors" (under the age of 18), may approach the school district and identify themselves as a transgender student. A transgender person, in the proposed policy, is defined as "an individual whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from those typically associated with the sex and gender assigned at birth."
(There are a lot of terms defined in the policy.)
Anyway, the policy goes on to state that, "The school district shall accept a student’s asserted gender identity; parental consent is not required. A student need not meet any threshold diagnosis or treatment requirements to have his or her gender identity recognized and respected by the school district, school, or school staff members. In addition, a legal or court-ordered name change is not required. There is no affirmative duty for any school district staff member to notify a student’s parent of the student’s gender identity or expression."
I take this to mean that a boy - let's call him Mike - can walk into school and say, "Call me Wendy from now on, I'd like to be considered a female." The school, according to the policy, says "OK", and Mike is now Wendy as far as the school is concerned, and should be treated like a female. No tests, diagnosis, or anything else is required.
Oh, and if you're hiding your Wendy identity from Mom and Dad, no worries, we won't tell them, we don't need to.
School staff members may not disclose information that may reveal a student’s transgender status except as allowed by law. The Principal or designee is advised to work with the student to create an appropriate confidentiality plan regarding the student’s transgender or transitioning status.
Call me crazy, but this is kinda crazy. The kid is 15-year-old and the school is going to keep this from Mom and Dad?
Oh, yeah, according to my interpretation of the policy, if Mike, now Wendy, wants to play on the high school varsity girls basketball team, have at it. Just show up at tryouts.
With respect to gender-segregated classes or athletic activities, including intramural and interscholastic athletics, all students must be allowed to participate in a manner consistent with their gender identity.
The school district shall:
•Provide transgender students with the same opportunities to participate in physical education as other students in accordance with their gender identity;
•Permit a transgender student to participate in gender-segregated school activities in accordance with the student’s gender identity;
•Permit and support the formation of student clubs or programs regarding issues related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) youth; and
•Offer support in the creation of peer led educational groups.
So, Mom and Dad, if your daughter has been playing travel basketball her whole life and is hoping to make the girls team and use that to leverage a college scholarship, OK, but now she's behind 5 students who used to be on the boys basketball team, but are now on the girls basketball team.
Yes, we want to be accepting of all people and feelings, but at what point do we say, "What the heck is going on here?"
I'll end this story by saying the thoughts contained here are mine and mine alone, and not those of my employer.