NC School Board Challenged on Student Transgender Policy That Potentially Excludes Parents

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A speaker at a North Carolina school board meeting on April 5 called out a transgender policy that evaluates a parent’s right to know about their child’s gender choice based on the parent’s “level of acceptance.”

“During a Title IX meeting last school year, a policy was addressed for a gender support plan,” Melissa Mason, a 2022 Republican candidate for the New Hanover County Board of Education school board, said in addressing the board. “The support plan assesses a parent’s level of acceptance for a student’s gender change. If the support is assessed to be too low, schools can reassign your child’s gender and hide the information from you.”

Sloan Rachmuth, an investigative reporter and president of Education First Alliance, a parent-teacher advocacy organization that investigates policies and curriculums in the K–12 North Carolina school system, first broke the story on April 6.

In the October 2020 Title IX committee meeting that Mason referenced, Title IX Director Jarelle Lewis cited the federal civil rights law as the reason for the policy. Title IX is a law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in schools that receive funding from the federal government.

When asked by a committee member how parents who are unaware of their child’s decision are handled, Lewis said it would be a “case-by-case basis.”

“So depending on the age and the type of accommodation request, it will depend on the level of parental involvement,” Lewis said. “For example, in elementary school, we’re going to have to refer to what the parent is requesting. But for example, if it’s a situation where a high school student wants to have an accommodation regarding their name in class, something such as that wouldn’t necessarily need or precipitate any type of parental involvement from that end.”

Mason called this kind of behavior “grooming.”

Grooming is a predatorial tactic that involves discussing sexually explicit information under the guise of education to prepare a child for sexual activity by reducing his or her inhibitions through exposure to the content.

By Matt McGregor

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