A school district in Fargo, North Dakota, will conceal the gender identities of students from parents in spite of a state law prohibiting the policy according to TheBlaze.
“We will not openly out any student because of one law if we know that that’s going to cause harm to that child,” said Fargo Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Rupak Gandhi, who is backed in the decision by the school board.
North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, a Republican, signed the bill earlier in May that banned schools from withholding or concealing “information about a student’s transgender status from the student’s parent or legal guardian.” Some parents expressed outrage at a school board meeting about the decision.
“The way I see it, the way I heard it is that you want to protect kids from their parents,” said one father. “Instead of encouraging everyone to talk more, you are suppressing talk.” Another parent accused them of trying to take away authority from parents.
Gandhi noted that the decision was not made “against” parents. However, several parents still chose to oppose the move at the following school board meeting.
“I really urge you all to pay attention to what we’re setting as a precedent,” one mother added. “Whose kids are these? Do they belong to you as a school board? Do they belong to Fargo Public Schools? Or is each child’s parent ultimately the decision-maker in their family over what is allowed and what is safe for that child?”
Critics of HB1522 have argued that immediately informing parents whether their child identifies as transgender has the potential to create an unsafe home environment for the student. Some thanked the FPS school board Tuesday for “courageously supporting all children” through its approach.
“Inclusive school policies and procedures make a difference,” Kristin Nelson, mother and co-founder of North Dakota-based LGBTQ+ youth advocacy organization, said.
However, the majority who spoke Tuesday feel that FPS is “facilitating secret-keeping” through its “efforts to break the law.” “You teach your kids that nobody who asks you to keep a secret is safe,” one mother said. “Now, this is going the other way. This is an adult saying that they’ll keep a child’s secret.”