New Hanover County Schools appears to explain that the gender identity of students can be hidden from parents


Parents Defending Education submitted a public records request to New Hanover County Schools seeking any guidance the district has regarding transgender issues. The district provided PDE with a document titled “NHCS FAQ on Transgender and Non-Binary Student Support.” The document provides several questions and answers regarding transgender issues. One question asks: “What if a transgender student seeks privacy and requests that their caregiver not be involved in the support process?” The document then states:

Students requesting accommodations should be mindful that the Family Educational and Privacy Act (FERPA) provides caregivers the right to inspect and review a student’s education records, including written accommodation plans for transgender and nonbinary students. Furthermore, North Carolina General Statute 115C-76.45 and NHCS Policy 1310/4002 (Parental Involvement) require school authorities to notify parents of a student’s request to change their name or preferred pronouns prior to making any changes. The statute further requires school authorities to encourage the student to discuss the issue with their parents or facilitate discussion between the parents and the student.

However, the next question then asks: “What if a caregiver does not agree with their child’s transgender status or support measures?” The answer then appears to explain that the gender identity of students can be hidden from parents: “NHCS will respond to these matters on a case-by-case basis while balancing student privacy, student safety, and caregiver rights.”

The district also provided PDE with the gender support plan used for students. One question on this plan asks: “Are the parent(s)/guardian(s) aware of the student’s gender status?” Another question then asks: “If support level is low, what consideration must be accounted for in implementing this plan?”