Chicago Public Schools: Hide Children’s Gender Identity from Parents

gender declarations
Eric Gay/AP Photo

Journalist and author Abigail Shrier shared on social media Thursday a 2018 memo sent to her by a Chicago Public Schools (CPS) teacher that explicitly states parents are not to be informed if their children have changed their gender identities.

“Do I need to get parent consent to refer to a student by a different name or pronoun?” an “FAQ”-type question is presented in what appears to be “Integrity Memo #11,” sent December 21, 2018, from Tony T. Howard, executive director at the office of Access and Enrollment of Chicago Public Schools, to all principals.

The response to the question, as written:

No. Parent(s)/guardian(s) consent is NOT required for students to be addressed by their name and pronouns that correspond to their gender identity. Parent(s)/guardian(s) should NOT be informed of name or pronoun changes unless the student requests such a disclosure.

The memo, whose subject is “Supporting Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students,” appears to be consistent with CPS’s “Supporting Gender Diversity Toolkit.”

The memo contains a section concerning “Overnight School Trips,” which reads:

Students shall be permitted to participate in accordance with their gender identity or in a manner that makes them feel safe, affirmed, and included. Accommodations shall be provided to gender non-binary students and students questioning their gender identity, regardless of whether the student is consistently asserting their identity at school.

The principal or designee shall work with the student to determine the accommodations that will be provided, including hotel and room-sharing arrangements, based on the particular circumstances of the trip.

“Notification of accommodations is not required to either the parent(s)/guardian(s) of the transgender student or those of their peers,” the memo emphasizes.

Regarding student names and pronouns, the memo also states:

Students have the right to be addressed by the name and pronoun that correspond to the gender identity they consistently assert at school. The following is NOT required for students to be addressed by their preferred name and pronouns:

  • Court-ordered name change
  • Medical or psychological documentation
  • Parent(s)/guardian(s) consent

Shrier, the author of Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters, wrote, “We need legislation NOW to stop schools from sneaking behind parents’ backs to change their minor child’s name and gender.”

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