Buhl School District implements policy to keep gender identity of students secret from parents; threatens teachers against telling parents with possible termination


The Buhl School District has a policy in place for students titled “Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation.” The policy is dated November 18, 2019. In the policy, the district explains that the gender identity of students can be kept a secret from parents:

In the case of middle/junior high school students and high school students, the principal or building administrator is encouraged to request a meeting with a transgender student and, if the student grants permission, with their parent/guardian upon the student’s enrollment in the District or in response to a currently enrolled student’s change of gender expression or identity.

The district further explains in the policy: “School employees should not disclose a student’s transgender status or sexual orientation to other individuals, regardless of setting, including the other school personnel or (in the case of middle school, junior high school, and high school students) the student’s parents/guardians, unless they have a legitimate need to know or unless the student has authorized such disclosure.” Revealing a student’s transgender status to parents can result in an employee’s “termination.”

The policy further explains that students can use their preferred restrooms and locker rooms according to their perceived gender identity. Students can also “participate in any activities segregated by gender in a manner that is consistent with their gender identity.” In the case of overnight field trips, the district explains that “students will be assigned sleeping rooms that correspond to the gender identity they consistently assert at school or to a private sleeping room.”

Staff and teachers must also “use the name and pronouns consistently asserted by the student at school, regardless of the student’s legal name and sex.” The district then explains that refusing to do this can result in an employee’s termination: “Intentional and persistent refusal to use the name and gender by which the student identifies is a violation of this policy and may subject an employee to discipline, up to and including possible termination.

The policy additionally explains that transgender training may be provided to staff, students, and parents: “The District may conduct staff development or awareness activities for students or parents on transgender issues or gender diversity.”