Parents Defending Education submitted a public records request to Olathe Public Schools requesting any policies and guidance the district has regarding transgender issues. PDE received a document from the district titled “Guidance Related to Gender Identity.” The district explained that this guidance was shared in December 2021. This guidance explains that the gender identity of students can be kept a secret from parents.
At first, the guidance states that the “best practice is for staff to obtain parental consent before addressing the student publicly by their preferred name and/or pronoun.” However, the district then explicitly explains in the guidance that parents can be left in the dark regarding their children:
Staff must be careful to refrain from incautious disclosure of a student’s gender status and/or sexual orientation. Informing the decision to disclose to a parent/guardian are considerations related to the age of the student; whether the student has developmental disabilities; protecting the privacy interests of the student; whether the communications with the parent would cause trauma to the student, and a fear for the child’s health as a result of that communication.
The guidance also mandates for both staff and students to use the preferred pronouns of students: “When a student requests to go by a preferred name and/or pronoun, District staff and students are expected to respect a student’s preferred name and pronoun.”