Durham Public Schools approves proclamation that attacks states for passing laws banning minors from receiving procedures to transition to another gender; has policy to keep gender identity of students hidden from parents


On May 10, 2024, Durham Public Schools posted on Facebook that the district’s “Board of Education has approved a proclamation in observance of LGBTQIA+ Pride Month.” The post contains a rainbow pride flag that specifically includes transgender symbolism. The district continues to explain in the post:

The Board acknowledges its governing principles which state that “an excellent school system provides an environment that is culturally responsive, free from bias and discrimination, and commits to ensuring that all stakeholders uphold educational equity as an essential principle of our school system that is integrated into all policies, practices, operations and processes in order to yield equitable educational outcomes for all students.”

Durham Public Schools promoted pride month on Facebook.

The district’s pride month proclamation is posted online. In this proclamation, the district appears to attack states that have passed legislation banning males participating in female sports and gender transitioning procedures for minors, including new laws in North Carolina. The district cites the Human Rights Campaign in stating:

On June 6, 2023 the Human Rights Campaign declared a state of emergency for LGBTQIA+ people in the United States following a spike in anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation. This escalation includes more than 500 anti-LGBTQIA bills that were introduced in state legislatures in 2023 and more than half of those targeted trans youth. This legislation attempts to limit representation of gender diverse and LGBTQIA+ people in curriculum in schools, access to medical care, and participation in sports.

The proclamation then adds that “several anti-LGBTQIA+ laws were passed in North Carolina in 2023, including SB49 and HB574, which further stigmatize LGBTQIA+ families and youth and limit representation of LGBTQIA+ identities from schools and sports teams.”

The proclamation “invites all schools to implement developmentally appropriate, inclusive, and representative lessons and special activities with all students on LGBTQIA+ families, gender diversity, and LGBTQIA+ history.” The district also encourages students and teachers to promote LGBTQ issues going forward: “Be it further resolved that the DPS Board of Education calls on all students, educators, and community members to observe LGBTQIA+ Pride Month and advance efforts to support and advocate for LGBTQIA+ youth, families, educators, and community members.”

The school district has a policy titled “LGBTQIA+ Gender Supports Policy.” The policy explains 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. The paramount consideration in such situations is the health and safety of the student.

Staff are mandated to use the preferred pronouns and names of students without parental knowledge: “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 they select that corresponds to their gender identity. Teachers and other school staff, including substitutes and volunteers, should be made aware of and honor a student’s request to be referred to by the name and pronouns that align with their gender identity.” The policy then explains that refusing to use a student’s preferred pronouns can be considered “discrimination, harassment or bullying.”

Students are also allowed to use the restrooms and locker rooms and participate in overnight field trips according to their preferred gender identity. LGBTQ issues will also be implemented into the curriculum taught to students:

Each student should be given the opportunity to foster respect and appreciation for cultural and ideological diversity and differences, including an age-appropriate understanding of gender expression, gender identity, sexual orientation, and diverse family structures. Selection of developmentally and age-appropriate LGBTQIA+ inclusive supplementary materials will occur in accordance with Section B of policy 3200, Selection of Supplementary Materials.