Milwaukee Public Schools has policy to keep gender identity of students secret from parents; provides “Gender Support Plan” that asks if parents are aware of their children’s gender identity


Milwaukee Public Schools has a document online labeled as “Gender Inclusion Guidance.” The document is described as having the “best practices for ensuring equitable treatment of transgender and gender nonconforming students and staff.” This document explains that teachers and staff do not need to involve parents with their children transitioning at school. For students in kindergarten through the fifth grade, the policy states that “parents/guardians will most likely be involved and may initiate the conversation.” However, for students in the sixth grade through twelfth grade, staff need to “get permission from students before communicating with parents/guardians.”

The guidance later adds: “School personnel should have conversations with students about the level of information they want shared with their parents/guardians for any change that is not a part of their official record.” When discussing the issue with students, the district provides the following “guiding questions”:

  • Is your parent/guardian aware of your preferred gender identity?
  • Is your parent/guardian aware of your preferred name?
  • If your parent/guardian asks specific questions about your gender identity, how much information would you prefer I share?
  • What name should be placed on your school work, understanding that your parent/guardian may ask to view school work during conferences or academic conversations with me?

The district then states in the guidance: “School personnel must be mindful not to reveal, imply, or refer to a student’s actual or perceived gender identity or gender expression when contacting parents/guardians when formal changes to official records have not been made.” Revealing the gender identity of students to parents could lead to the students “being kicked out of their home or being disowned,” according to the guidance.

The guidance also has a “Gender Support Plan” attached with the question: “Are guardian(s) of this student aware and supportive of their child’s gender status?” The next question asks: “If not, what considerations must be accounted for in implementing this plan?”