Teacher pressures school employees to hide students’ gender transitions from parents
Reagan Reese, DCNF
A teacher at a California high school is encouraging other educators to help hide students’ gender transitions from their parents, according to an email obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Sage Creek High School teacher and Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) club advisor Sarah Hunter sent an email to all staff advising them that students’ preferred pronouns or gender identity at school may not be what they go by at home. Hunter advised faculty to check with a student on what name and pronouns they should use when addressing their family so they do not “out” the student to their family, specifically if they have transitioned to the opposite sex.
“Honoring a student’s preferred pronouns is key to establishing a positive learning environment,” Hunter wrote in the email. “Making a point to ask for, learn and use correct pronouns acknowledges that many students don’t feel comfortable, or safe, expressing their true gender identity. By clearly telling everyone in the room that you respect people of all gender identities, you are telling all your students, ‘It’s OK to be you.’”
Hunter encouraged educators to nix gendered terms such as “ladies and gentlemen” and use gender neutral terms instead, the email stated. She told the faculty to give students a way to share their pronouns in a “low risk environment” with the suggestion of adding a preferred pronouns question to class surveys. (RELATED: Colorado School Board Proposes Toolkit Suggesting Educators Hide Student Transitions From Parents)
The email included resources such as an article by the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education’s “Respecting Pronouns In The Classroom” which tells educators how to handle “misgendering someone.”
“Please consider adding your pronouns to your email signature (shout out to those who have already done so),” the email read. “This is a simple best practice that will model normalizing sharing pronouns, send a clear message to our community and ‘make room for students who may be exploring their gender identity and show everyone that gender identity should not be assumed.’”
Hunter also provided signs featuring the most recent version of the LGBTQ pride flag to incorporate “the inclusion of Black, Brown and trans people long marginalized by the mainstream LGBTQ+ movement,” the email showed. Displaying one of the signs, the email says, demonstrates to students that their educators are “an ally to the LGBTQ+ community.”
To encourage “pride and allyship” in May 2021, students found LGBTQ flags around campus and redeemed them for prizes, the school website showed. The school held a “GSA Pride Week” where students were urged to wear “rainbow or other pride flag colored gear” to school.
Many other school districts encourage teachers to hide student information, including gender transitions, from parents; San Francisco Unified School District promoted a guidebook to help educators ask students what name and pronouns they should use at school compared to when they talk to parents. Roaring Fork School District in Carbondale, Colorado, plans to vote on a “gender expansive” toolkit which provides educators with resources on how to avoid revealing students’ gender transitions to their parent, while the Michigan Department of Education teaches educators how to keep students’ gender identity a secret from their families.
Hunter and Sage Creek High School did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.