Who cares what the parents think? That appears to be the attitude of a school board in Nevada, which recently passed a controversial policy that protects transgender students.
Just as in other parts of the country, a majority of parents and others in Nevada's Clark County opposed this policy. That's according to attorney Richard Mast of Liberty Counsel, who states that while Policy 5138 protects the rights of transgender students, it puts at risk the privacy rights and safety of other students. Parental rights, he adds, are repressed by the policy.
"It raises disturbing questions whether parents will actually be informed about their child who may be questioning his or her gender," says Liberty Counsel's senior litigation counsel. "It considers the rights and the needs of the student as compared to how parents should be informed – and it implies that the school district knows best."
The policy was approved on a 4-3 vote last week, just ahead of the 2018 school year beginning.
Mast says another onerous aspect of the policy is that students, staff, and volunteers will have to use the name/pronoun the transgender student prefers – or risk punishment. The policy states:
"The requested name shall be included in the District's Student Information System in order to inform faculty and staff of the name and pronoun to use when addressing the student."
Liberty Counsel says it stands ready to assist both parents and teachers in dealing with the policy. "The schools don't have the right to force at least false gender pronouns on others – and that's something by which they're subject to attack," notes Mask. "We won't sit idly by when individuals', especially children's, rights are violated."
The board did assuage fears by saying there is no plan to teach gender diversity in the classroom through curriculum.