Maine Regional School District 5’s (RSU5) Board of Directors is set to hear a first reading of a new policy next Wednesday regarding “transgender and gender expansive students” that would codify allowing school staff to keep issues related to students’ gender identity secret from their parents.
RSU5 represents the towns of Freeport, Durham and Pownal, and a total of seven schools, from pre-k to high school.
The stated goals of the policy are to “foster a learning environment that is safe and free from discrimination, harassment, and bullying,” and to “assist in the educational and social integration of transgender and gender expansive students in our schools.”
The policy proposal states that “Children have a constitutional right not to have intimate facts about their lives disclosed without their consent,” and language under section D of the policy appears to extend that right to allow school staff to exclude parents from knowing about their children’s gender identity “support plan.”
A student can contact their counselor or other school staff to initiate a meeting in which they can develop the student’s “support plan” and discuss a change in their gender identity, including a change to the student’s preferred name and pronouns.
Last month, a California school settled for $100,000 with the mother of an 11-year-old girl who was secretly coached by school officials into a social gender transition.
Under section D(3), the proposed RSU 5 policy reads:
“In the case of a student who has not yet discussed a change in their gender identity with their parent(s)/guardian(s), the designated staff person will discuss parent/guardian involvement with the student to ensure that the student feels safe and supported.”
Under the proposed policy, the student’s “support plan” must be kept confidential and “shared only with individuals attending the plan development meeting, the Superintendent/designees, others with a bona fide need to know.”
Whether or not parents qualify as “bona fide need to know” is at the discretion of the student’s counselor or other staff.
The proposed policy also allows the school administration to request documentation from parents or “outside providers” if “deemed necessary to assist in developing a plan appropriate for the student.”
Under section E of the policy, students would be permitted to use restrooms and locker rooms “that most closely matches their gender identity,” and the student “shall not be required to use a separate non-communal facility over their objection.”
The policy is currently subject to revision by the RSU5 Board and the district’s Policy Committee.
The RSU 5 Board meeting will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 13, at 6:30 p.m. in the Freeport High School library, and will include a 10-minute public comment section.
Read the full RSU5 transgender and gender expansive students policy below: