Parents Defending Education submitted a public records request to Littleton Public Schools seeking any guidelines or guidance the school district has regarding transgender issues. PDE received a document back from the school district titled “Guidelines for Supporting Students & Staff who are Transgender or Gender Nonconforming.” This guidance does not appear to be posted publicly online. The district states in the document: “The purpose of these guidelines is to ensure safety, equity, and justice for all students regardless of sex, sexual orientation, transgender identity, gender identity and gender expression.”
At first, the district touts parental involvement by stating that “schools should seek to involve parents and legal guardians in the process of a student’s social transition at school to support the student’s health, safety and well-being.” However, the district then appears to explain that parents can be left in the dark regarding the gender identity of their children:
In general, a student should not be required to disclose information about their transgender status or gender identity to anyone until they are ready for others to know this information. In situations where the student is requesting use of a new name or gender pronouns by staff and peers at school and/or access restrooms or locker rooms of a new gender but does not want to inform their parents/guardians, the school mental health professional will meet with the student to proactively discuss parental involvement, resources for support, limitations to privacy due to school being a public place and to clarify that school staff will not lie to parents / guardians if asked about this information.
The district then continues to explain: “If the mental health professional has reasonable grounds to believe that disclosure of this information to parents would be detrimental to the student’s safety they will contact the district’s office of Social, Emotional and Behavior Services for further guidance.”
The school district will also create “gender support plans” for students to help them transition while at school. District staff are additionally mandated to “use the student’s preferred name and gender pronouns.” The district may potentially ignore the wishes of parents to not use their children’s preferred pronouns:
In cases where a student and their parent / guardian have discussed but are not in agreement regarding use of name and gender at school, a school administrator and school mental health professional will attempt to help the family come to an agreement. If an agreement cannot be reached, the school team will work in consultation with the district’s office of Social, Emotional and Behavior Services to determine which name and pronoun will be used in the school setting.
Students can also use the restrooms and locker rooms that match their preferred gender identity. Students can additionally participate in sports according to their preferred gender identity. The district appears to mandate students to use the preferred pronouns of other students: “The intentional or persistent refusal to respect a student’s gender identity (for example, intentionally refusing to use a student’s name or personal gender pronouns) may be considered a violation of District policies and the Student Code of Conduct, depending upon the circumstances.”
The district will also train staff on transgender issues: “To the extent funding is available, the District shall implement ongoing professional development to build employees’ skills as a means to support transgender and gender nonconforming students and staff.”