The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) has released a document advising schools on how to support “gender expansive” students, including keeping their so-called gender identities a secret from family members.
If a student discloses their “gender expansive” identity to school staff, the guidance asks staff members to respect the child’s “confidentiality needs.” Students who do not publicly assert their “gender identity” might have concerns about their families and community members finding out, the new guidance (pdf) states.
“Parent and family support is the goal when supporting gender expansive students, but may not be possible in all situations,” according to the document.
“Schools should refer to their current policies when there may be a safety concern. To the extent possible, schools should refrain from revealing information about a student’s gender identity, even to parents, caregivers, or other school administrators, without permission from the student.”
The updated guidance “clarifies new and evolving laws and policies” on how to address the needs of “gender expansive” students and the school districts that serve them, ODE Director Colt Gill says in the letter.
Speaking to Fox News, an ODE spokesperson confirmed that when students claim that notifying their parents about their “gender expansive” identity might be a safety concern, the department encourages schools to “prioritize the student’s safety within all school environments.”
The document pushes for providing “gender-affirming care” in schools. Services like social affirmation through name, gender markers, pronoun use, access to facilities, athletics, etc. are likely to occur in schools. Medical services like access to puberty blockers, “gender-affirming” surgeries, and hormone therapy are likely to occur within a school-based health center (SBHC), the document noted.
It cited a survey by a Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) at a middle school in which respondents picked “gender-affirming” items like clothing, makeup, chest binders, and menstrual products as something the school should focus on for the upcoming year.