Orange County School District has policy to keep the gender identity of students a secret from parents


The Orange County School District has a policy in place titled “Gender Support Guidelines” that is dated December 14, 2020. The district appeared to use language from the transgender policy at New York City Public Schools to create the policy. The policy explains that the gender identity of students can be kept a secret from parents:

In some cases, transgender students may not want their parents to know about their transgender status. These situations must be addressed on a case-by-case basis and will require schools to balance the goal of supporting the student with the requirement that parents be kept informed about their children. The paramount consideration in such situations is the health and safety of the student.

The district further explains in the policy: “School officials must be mindful that transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming youth often experience significant family challenges. Some transgender students have not talked to their parents about their gender identity and/or do not want their parents to know about their transgender status based on safety concerns or concerns about a lack of acceptance. The school principal or their designee should speak with the student first to ascertain concerns the student may have, what support may be needed to keep the student safe at school, and how to involve the student’s parents, if at all.

The policy also states that “students are not required to obtain parental consent” to be referred to by their preferred pronouns and name. Teachers are additionally mandated to use the preferred pronouns of students: “Teachers and other school staff, including substitutes and volunteers, should be made aware of and honor a student’s request to be referred to by the name and pronouns that align with their gender identity.”

Students are also allowed to use the restrooms that fit their preferred gender identity. The district will “provide periodic training to all school-based administrators, Student Support Services, which includes counselors, nurses and social workers, and appropriate district-level administrators” on transgender issues.