Parents Defending Education submitted a public records request to the Tangipahoa Parish School System seeking any documents that serve as guidance for students who identify as transgender. The district provided PDE with several documents regarding transgender issues. One document is titled “Guidance for LGBTQ Youth” and is dated October 12, 2020. This guidance appears to explain that in some cases the gender identity of students may be kept a secret from parents:
If the student remains concerned about informing his or her parents, you should explore the basis for the student’s concern, and determine whether the concern triggers any child abuse reporting obligations.
This language is taken word-for-word from the guidance issued by the National School Boards Association. This guidance also mandates that teachers use the preferred pronouns of students.
Another document the district provided to PDE was the 2016 document “Transgender Students in Schools” from the National School Boards Association (NSBA). This NSBA guidance also encourages teachers to keep the gender identity of students a secret from parents:
Given the unsettled state of the law, you may choose to direct school staff who are unsure whether the parents are aware of the student’s transgender status to refrain from incautious disclosure of a student’s transgender status. It may be wise to advise staff to limit discussions of a student’s transgender status to situations where there is a legitimate or compelling need to do so, for example to address school records, use of facilities, health concerns, safety issues, including bullying or harassment, and where there is a legal duty to inform parents about their child’s situation.
The school district also provided PDE with guidance created by the Texas Association of School Boards, despite being a district located in Louisiana. PDE received the same document from public records requests previously submitted to Texas school districts.