On November 21, 2022, the Republican Journal reported that the “Regional School Unit 71 Board of Directors rolled out a draft proposal for a new policy regarding transgender and gender-expansive students at its Nov. 14 meeting, sparking debate about parental involvement.” The newspaper explained that the policy is “designed to assist the educational and social integration of transgender and gender-expansive students in RSU 71 schools.” Parents are concerned because the policy’s language explains that the gender identity of a student can be kept secret from parents:
If requested by the student, or if deemed necessary by the administration to address school-related issues, a meeting will be scheduled to discuss the student’s particular circumstances and needs. In addition to the student, and depending on the particular needs of the student, other participants in the meeting may include the parent(s)/guardian(s), a building administrator, a guidance counselor or social worker, the school nurse, and/or other school staff.
The policy then states: “In the case of a student who has not yet informed parent(s)/guardian(s), the administrator should first discuss parent/guardian involvement with the student to avoid inadvertently putting the student at risk by contacting their parent(s)/guardian(s).” The newspaper explained that the policy “gives building administrators latitude in educational plans for transgender and/or gender expansive students, as well as how to best handle issues surrounding parent involvement.”
At the November 14 meeting, the Board of Directors approved the draft of the policy in a five to three vote. A second reading will take place at the Board of Directors meeting on November 28. The newspaper explained: “If approved at that meeting, the policy will be adopted.”