Buncombe County Schools has policy to keep gender identity of students hidden from parents


Buncombe County Schools has a policy titled “Gender Support Guidelines” that was most recently revised on April 26, 2024. The policy states that “schools must be proactive in creating a school culture that respects and values all students and fosters understanding of gender identity and expression within the school community.” This policy appears to explain that the gender identity of students can be hidden from parents:

In some cases, transgender students may not want their parents to know about their transgender status. These situations must be addressed on a case-by-case basis and will require schools to balance the goal of supporting the student with the requirement that parents be kept informed about their children as well as the statutory requirement for schools to notify parents prior to any change in the name or pronoun used for a student in school records or by school staff.

The policy later reiterates this point:

School officials must be mindful that transgender and gender nonconforming youth often experience significant family challenges. Some transgender students have not talked to their parents about their gender identity and/or do not want their parents to know about their transgender status based on concerns about a lack of acceptance or safety concerns. The school principal or their designee should speak with the student first to ascertain concerns the student may have. As noted above, these situations must be addressed on a case-by-case basis balancing the student’s request with the requirements of state and federal law.

The policy then explicitly states: “Students are not required to obtain parental consent, or a court ordered name and/or gender change as a prerequisite to being addressed by the name and pronoun that corresponds to their gender identity.” District staff are told to “honor a student’s request to be referred to by the name and gender that corresponds to their gender identity.”

Students are allowed to use the restrooms and locker rooms that match their preferred gender identity. Students are also allowed to attend overnight field trips in a manner that matches their preferred gender identity.