The Current Policy That Precludes Parents From Being Notified of Their Child’s Gender Choices Is a Slap in the Face to All Parents

The FCPS Board of Education has made arguments against parental notification that are based on their desire to ensure a child’s emotional and physical safety. They have stated that a child must have a safe space to be themselves, and notifying parents wouldn’t be in the best interest of that child’s mental, emotional, and physical well-being. They have provided a number of reasons to justify their decision, each of which we’ve disputed.

But, there is a different justification that this policy carries, and it isn’t one that is stated, though it should be evident to every parent. In their defense of this policy, the board is saying, “We will support your child, giving them the power to make this decision without you because we start with the assumption that our approach is better for your child than yours, and we know what your approach is because your child told us so.”

When a school system states that they have concerns that families would be “non-supportive,” they are saying they are very concerned that families won’t handle the care and support of their child on this topic the way the schools think it should be, so they will not tell any parents about it. It’s not just that they suspect some parents may be non-supportive, which the board defined as abusive or neglectful (the handling of that suspicion, by the way, is covered under policy 418). As evidenced by the language of the policy and its one-size-all approach the board has predetermined that all parents are “non-supportive.” 

The schools have the power to do the right thing and include parents by notifying them. And despite what the board has stated, the courts don’t all agree schools have the right to withhold information.* The real justification borne out by the board’s actions is that they just don’t believe parents will agree with their approach.

Parents should be outraged and angry. Telling all parents we don’t think you’re capable so that we will give your child confidential, independent authority over this crucial decision is taking on powers the school system should leave to the families.

Let the board know if you agree.

* The most recent Montgomery County court case on parental rights found that the parents that filed the suit didn’t have standing because they could not demonstrate direct harm. The court found that the parents’ case was persuasive and left the door open for a different ruling if the parents could show immediate harm. Please read our full explanation of why the MoCo case was a positive step toward parents’ rights by clicking here