A Colorado school district has found itself embroiled in controversy as the local teachers union reportedly sent an email to its members advising them to erase any evidence of questioning students about their gender identities. This decision has sparked outrage among parents in Jefferson County, Colorado, who believe that the teachers are attempting to circumvent state laws, with the teachers union allegedly aiding them in doing so. According to reports, these surveys regarding students’ gender identities are deemed illegal unless parents have the option to opt out.
The Jefferson County Education Association’s email reportedly instructed teachers to conduct any gender identity questionnaires as paper and pencil activities, cautioning against digital records due to their potential permanence and the possibility of federal law requests for them. Additionally, teachers were advised not to retain documents but rather make notations about students and then dispose of the paperwork.
Denice Crawford, a mother with three children in the school district, expressed her frustration, emphasizing that mandatory surveys delving into protected information are illegal unless parents have a say in the matter. She shared her disappointment at receiving a survey on her son’s gender identity and feeling deceived by the school. Crawford made it clear that her concerns were not rooted in being “anti-LGBTQ+” but rather a matter of adherence to the law.
Susan Miller, a school board member, echoed these concerns, suggesting that the district’s leadership had provided a means to bypass the law and seemed to condone such actions.
The president of the Jefferson County Education Association, Brooke Williams, issued a statement that did not clarify the union’s stance on instructing members to destroy documents pertaining to students’ gender identities. The statement emphasized providing students with an optional way to share their preferred pronouns while maintaining their privacy and encouraging educators to follow district policies on protecting transgender and gender nonconforming students’ identities.
This incident is reminiscent of other instances where school districts have concealed information about students’ gender identities from parents. However, various polls indicate that many parents support policies that keep them informed about such matters. Critics argue that such policies undermine the parent-child relationship and are funded through taxpayer dollars in the public school system, raising concerns about parental rights and transparency in education.