Challis Joint School District mandates teachers to keep gender identity of students secret from parents; explains policy originated from Idaho School Boards Association


The Challis Joint School District has a policy in place for students titled “Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation” that mandates employees and teachers keep the gender identity of students a secret from their parents. The policy shares almost identical language with other transgender policies throughout Idaho. Parents Defending Education submitted a public records request to the district regarding the policy and discovered that the policy’s language originates from the Idaho School Boards Association (ISBA). The district explained to PDE that “a lot of Districts follow the ISBA policy.”

The policy explains that students must grant permission for their parents to know about their gender identity: “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.”

Teachers are also mandated to keep the gender identity of students a secret from parents. Refusal to do this can lead to “possible termination.” The district 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. Action in violation of such student confidentiality may subject an employee to discipline, up to and including possible termination and for certificated personnel, a report to the Professional Standards Commission.

The policy also states that students can use the restrooms and locker rooms that match their preferred gender identity: “Students will be allowed to use the restrooms and locker rooms that correspond to the gender identity they consistently assert at school.” The policy then explains: “In the case of overnight trips sponsored by the District, students will be assigned sleeping rooms that correspond to the gender identity they consistently assert at school or to a private sleeping room.”

Teachers are also mandated to use the preferred pronouns and names of students: “However, in the course of ordinary school interactions and communication, District staff shall use the name and pronouns consistently asserted by the student at school, regardless of the student’s legal name and sex.” If teachers refuse, they can face “possible termination.” The district may also provide transgender training for staff, parents, and students: “The District may conduct staff development or awareness activities for students or parents on transgender issues or gender diversity.”