A concerned community member reached out to Parents Defending Education regarding Laurel Elementary School in Colorado transitioning a young student to another gender despite the parents telling the school not to do so. PDE received emails obtained through a public records request of the school’s district – Poudre School District – of communications between administrators and staff. In one email obtained by PDE that is dated April 4, 2022, the assistant principal of Laurel Elementary School asked the district’s “Chief Academic & Equity Officer” what to do in the situation. The assistant principal said in the email:
I’m wondering about what to do when an elementary school student has expressed their pronouns and chosen name but their parents directly tell school staff not to call the student by those pronouns. I feel very strongly about supporting the student but have heard that we legally have to follow the parents’ direction due to the age of the child (elementary school).
In another email that is dated April 5, 2022, the “Chief Academic & Equity Officer” explained that school staff should use the preferred name and pronouns of students, even if parents disagree. She then appeared to explain that the gender identity of students should be kept secret from parents and that school staff should use a student’s “legal name and corresponding pronouns” when talking with parents. She explained:
Schools should use the student’s affirming name and pronouns at school and use their legal name and corresponding pronouns when talking with the family until they are supportive of the student’s new name and pronouns.Chief Academic & Equity Officer in an email
In another email dated April 5, 2022, the school district’s “LGBTQIA+ Coordinator” also responded to the assistant principal. The “LGBTQIA+ Coordinator” explained that “the school should use the student’s affirming name and pronouns at school and use their legal name and corresponding pronouns when talking with the family until they are supportive of the student’s new name and pronouns.” The next sentence was already redacted from the email that PDE received.