The Policy That Allows FCPS To Withhold Information From Parents About Their Child’s Gender Identity Choices Conflicts With One of Their Own Policies on Family/School Partnership

The following is taken from a letter sent to the Board of Education on August 29th. Comments in parentheses are used here to paraphrase or provide clarity for the reader.

The parental notification restrictions in place under policy 443 seem to be in direct conflict with the spirit and specific direction of FCPS policy 413 – Family/ Community Partnership.

(Among other similar statements, policy 413 states the following:)

“The Board acknowledges that a child’s education is a shared responsibility of the school, family, and community during the entire period the child participates in school. The Board further recognizes that the mutually supportive relationship among home, school, and community contributes to the development of both the child and the community. Schools, families, students, and the community are expected to work as knowledgeable partners to accomplish the mission of the PTA National Standards for Family-School Partnerships to successfully educate all students.”

We are very familiar with all six pillars of the PTA National Standards as it relate to parents and the emphasis on family inclusion (“encourage school staff to see engaging parents as part of their responsibilities,” “schools are to treat families as trusted partners,” ” schools must remove barriers (for family) participation,” “schools should build parental knowledge about decisions that affect students,” and so on). Although the standards are broad, a policy that keeps important information about their children from all parents seems out of sync with the FCPS policy and the national PTA standards.

 It’s policy, not law that prevents you from notifying and engaging parents. It’s a decision entirely in your hands. The use of the affirmative care model without parental knowledge, consent, and control is damaging children and dividing families and their children at the exact time they need to be brought together. And (as pointed out in previous letters) there is a mountain of information that supports that reality. 

FCPS is ignoring the facts and refusing to consider the substantial new information that indicates the current policies are out of date, including the fact that most of Europe, which has much more experience than the U.S. on this topic, is moving away from the exact type of approach FCPS continues to insist we use.