The Kendrick Joint School District has a policy in place for students titled “Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation” that is dated as revised on November 7, 2018. The district has the policy filed as number 3281. The policy mandates that district staff and teachers keep parents in the dark regarding the gender identity of their children. Parents Defending Education submitted a public records request to the district and received documents and emails regarding the district’s gender policy. One document PDE received included email exchanges between the district and an employee of the Idaho School Boards Association (ISBA), including what appears to be at least a $2,000 purchase of the ISBA’s policy templates.
In one email exchange dated July 2, 2018, a “Research & Policy Coordinator” from ISBA sent an email to Superintendent Steve Kirkland that stated: “Thank you for your interest in ISBA’s policy services! The cost to purchase the Model Policy Manual is $2,000, and a Fresh Start Rewrite costs $4,000.” The ISBA member then stated that a “subscription to the Policy Update Service, at a cost of $695 per year, is required while the rewrite is underway and strongly recommended as a way to keep the policies up to date after the rewrite is complete and for districts that purchase the Model Policy Manual.”
The email exchange’s subject title was “Options for Switching to the ISBA Model Policies.” PDE has learned from public records requests sent to other Idaho districts that the gender policy is based on a template provided by the ISBA.
A later email exchange dated August 28, 2018, appears to show that the district at least paid the $2,000 for the ISBA’s “Model Policy Manual.” The ISBA has a page online with model policy templates with the gender policy included as one of the templates. In this email, the ISBA member stated: “We’ve just received and processed payment for the District’s purchase of the Model Policy Manual.” The ISBA member continued:
Thank you for purchasing the ISBA Model Policy Manual in MS Word Format. The updated manual in Word format allows for manipulation and revision by your district as well as easy assimilation of our Policy Update Service Releases. Our model policy manuals are provided in fulfillment of our philosophy of providing quality services to our members at a reasonable price.
The district’s gender policy was then originally adopted on September 19, 2018.
The name of the ISBA member has been removed from the following documents.
The school district’s policy uses the ISBA’s template similar to other districts in Idaho. The policy explicitly states that the gender identity of students should be kept a secret from parents. Employees who tell parents about the gender identity of their children can face “possible termination.” The policy states:
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.