Parental Rights Group Releases List of Over 1,000 School Districts Hiding Students’ Gender Identity

Activist groups that push such policies in schools characterize families as inherently unsafe, threatening parents’ rights over their children.
Parental Rights Group Releases List of Over 1,000 School Districts Hiding Students’ Gender Identity
Supporters of a school district policy to notify parents when their child wishes to identify as transgender pose for a photo at an Orange Unified School Board meeting in Orange, Calif., on Sept. 7, 2023. (Mei Lee/The Epoch Times)
Naveen Athrappully

More than 1,000 school districts across the United States support policies that keep parents in the dark when it comes to their children’s transgender identification, according to parental rights group Parents Defending Education (PDE).

On Sept. 11, PDE updated its list of school districts that have implemented policies regarding students who believe they are transgender. The policies recommend that institutions’ district personnel should keep a student’s transgender status hidden from parents.

The list mentions 18,331 schools from 1,044 districts that implement such policies. These rules affect over 10.7 million American schoolchildren.

“We actually released this number initially in March, and then we identified about 200 counties. … This number keeps growing across the country,” Nicole Neily, president of PDE, said in a interview with the Real America's Voice program "Just the News, No Noise."

“We are still getting tips that are pouring in every day," she said.

Ms. Neily blamed state school board associations and LGBT activist groups for pushing such policies in educational institutions.

“These associations are not parents' friends and we're really trying to remind families of that as well,” she said. “So these are policies that are being pushed by activist groups like GLSEN and The Trevor Project that are saying the families are inherently not safe.”

Concerns About Activist Groups

Both GLSEN—pronounced "glisten"—and The Trevor Project are LGBT activist organizations.

GLSEN describes itself as a “national education non-profit organization, leading the movement to create safe and inclusive K–12 schools.” It was founded in 1990 as the Gay, Lesbian, & Straight Education Network by a teacher-turned-activist who later oversaw the school drug and violence prevention program under the Obama administration.

GLSEN’s guidelines for schools advise that educators keep the gender identity of students a secret from their parents.

“Staff or educators shall not disclose any information that may reveal a student’s gender identity to others, including parents or guardians and other staff, unless the student has authorized such disclosure, the information is contained in school records requested by a parent or guardian, or there is another compelling need,” it states.

The Trevor Project describes its mission as aiming to “end suicide among LGBTQ young people.”

In 2019, the group published a document (pdf) called the “Model School District Policy on Suicide Prevention," which asks school mental health professionals to “ensure that the parents’ actions are in the best interest of the student (e.g., when a student is LGBTQ and living in an unaffirming household).”

In addition, the policy also asks schools to keep a student’s sexual orientation or gender identity a secret from parents when they are “notified of perceived suicide risk or an attempt.” Information shared with parents “should be restricted to the perceived risk of suicide or facts of the attempt,” it says.

PDE maintains a list of school districts that recommend The Trevor Project as a resource.

The Trevor Project also runs the TrevorSpace chatrooms, which has been accused of allowing adult strangers to talk about sex with minors.

Parents and community leaders in Santa Ana, California, raised concerns last year about TrevorSpace.

Victor Cota, a youth pastor in Santa Ana, revealed that he saw evidence of children interacting with adults to explore genders and sexualities. The platform provides a space for such discussions without parental knowledge.

“Anyone can chat with these kids in these spaces," he said. "I checked it out with my own eyes. I was shocked at the types of chat groups I found."

Brianna Cota, Mr. Cota’s wife, said that “it was worse than I imagined.” The platform is a “hunting ground for sexual predators,” she said.

Protecting Parental Rights

In her interview for Real America's Voice, Ms. Neily stressed the need to protect parental rights.

“It's not a partisan issue," she said. "Children do better when families are involved in their lives. You can supplement their education. You can ask questions. You know your child, but we're being held at arm's length. We're being told [by certain teachers unions] 'We're with your kids eight hours a day, so we know them better than you do.”

A poll published by PDE in March showed that 71 percent of registered voters support creating legislation that would require schools to inform parents in case their children want to change their gender identity at school.

In addition, 75 percent of voters supported legislation requiring schools to obtain parental consent before transitioning their children.

“The results of this survey simply reinforce what we at Parents Defending Education have been hearing from parents all over the country: the constant whispering at our children’s ears that we—their parents—are their enemy, is negatively impacting families everywhere,” Mailyn Salabarria, the director of community engagement at PDE, said in a statement.

“Public school policies that hide identity and gender issues from parents and legal guardians are an assault to parents’ rights," she said.

In recent times, parental rights groups have exposed the LGBT agenda being pushed on children in schools.

In March, the advocacy group California Alliance for Education revealed to The Epoch Times that 23 students were secretly transitioned at a local school district without their parents being informed. Eight of the children were of elementary school age.
Some schools are taking steps to protect parental rights. In August, the Temecula Valley Unified School Board voted 3–2 to pass a policy requiring schools to notify parents when their child wishes to identify as transgender.

Parents are also to be notified when the child requests to use pronouns, names, bathrooms, or locker rooms that do not align with their biological sex.

Following the school’s decision, California Attorney General Rob Bonta, a Democrat, criticized institutions implementing such policies.

“My office is closely monitoring the situation and will not tolerate districts compromising the safety and privacy of transgender and gender nonconforming students. We will remain committed to ensuring school policies do not violate students’ civil rights,” he said in a statement.