Montgomery County Public Schools’ Gender Identity Policies Bar Staff from Revealing Student’s Gender Transition to Parents
Gender inclusivity policies at Montgomery County Public Schools prohibit employees from revealing a student’s gender identity to his or her parents without the child’s permission
The “Gender Identity in Montgomery County Public Schools” guidance, created in September 2021, directs staffers to “ascertain the level of support” a transitioning student receives from home before informing parents of their child’s decision to change genders. Employees should contact the district’s student welfare office to address cases where parents are unsupportive of their child’s transition.
“Matters of gender identity can be complex and may involve familial conflict. If this is the case, and support is required, Student Welfare and Compliance (SWC) should be contacted.”
In addition to its prescriptions for addressing parent-child relationships, the policies address staff speech, restroom and locker room access for transgender students, and “gendered terminology.”
The district grants students access to restrooms and locker rooms based on their gender identity, the policies state. Transgender students “cannot be required to use an alternative arrangement,” though the district can provide one—such as a single-person restroom facility—upon request.
Teachers should work to “foster [an] understanding of gender identity” with students who feel “uncomfortable” when sharing a sex-separated facility with a transgender peer.
Employees should refer to a student by his or her preferred name and pronouns at school, unless communicating with the child’s parents. In such cases, staff should use a child’s legal name and the pronouns that correspond with their biological sex, so as not to reveal the child’s transition to his or her parents.
In support of transgender students, “schools should seek to minimize the use of permission slips and other school-specific forms that require disclosure of a student’s gender or use gendered terminology.”
Transgender students have a right to sleep in rooms consistent with their gender identity on overnight class field trips. Other students—as well as their parents—do not have a right to know the gender identity or biological sex of a transgender peer in such circumstances.
“A student’s transgender status is confidential information and school staff members may not disclose or require disclosure of a student’s transgender status to other students or their parents/guardians, as it relates to a field trip, without the consent of the student and/or the student’s parent/guardian.”
A parent told Parents Defending Education that the district requires all employees to take a series of mandatory diversity trainings—including training on gender identity—prior to the start of the school year.
Read more incident reports from Montgomery County Public Schools here.