Elko County School District has policy to keep gender identity of students hidden from parents; has email specifically informing staff to not tell parents


Parents Defending Education submitted a public records request to the Elko County School District seeking any guidelines that the district has regarding transgender issues. The district provided PDE with several documents. One document was a policy titled “Gender-Based Discrimination/Harassment/Bullying of Students Prohibited” that was last revised on June 9, 2020. The policy states that the gender identity of students can be hidden from parents:

The status of gender non-conforming students must be kept private except necessary to disclose such status to school officials or otherwise. If a student requests that the school not communicate with the student’s parents or guardians about such status, explore the basis of the student’s concern. In all circumstances, the guiding principle is the well-being of the student.

This policy also mandates that staff use the preferred pronouns of students: “Gender non-conforming students shall have the right to be addressed by a requested name and pronoun corresponding to their gender identity or expression.” Students are also allowed to participate in sports according to their preferred gender identity: “Generally, students should be permitted to participate in gender-segregated recreational gym class activities and sports in accordance with the student’s gender identity.”

Another policy that the district provided to PDE is titled “Diverse Gender Identities or Expressions” that was adopted on September 19, 2023. This policy mandates training for all teachers on transgender issues. The policy also appears to state that employees and students will be punished for refusing to use the preferred pronouns of other students.

The district additionally provided PDE with templates of emails that the district uses when a student transitions to another gender. One email was specifically to notify district staff of a student transitioning that gave staff specific instructions not to inform the student’s parents. The district’s template email states:

Good morning everyone. I hope your day is going well. I talked with one of our students who previously went by the name of (Student Name). The student made me aware that (Preferred Pronoun) is a (transgender/nonbinary) person and would like to be referred to as (New Student Name). The student has requested that we not inform their parents at this time and therefor, according to district policy, the parents have not been contacted on this issue.

The district also provided PDE with a version of the email if the parents do know.