A school district in North Dakota is implementing a policy that will allow students to conceal their gender identities from parents though state law prohibits such secrecy.
“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, a decision that is backed by the school board, WHAM reported.
In May, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, a Republican, signed a bill into law that prohibits schools from withholding or hiding “information about a student’s transgender status from the student’s parent or legal guardian.”
Some parents attended a recent school board meeting and expressed their outrage at the defiance, The Blaze reported.
“The way I see it, the way I heard it is that you want to protect kids from their parents,” one father said. “Instead of encouraging everyone to talk more, you are suppressing talk.”
Another parent accused board members and Gandhi of attempting to subvert parental authority.
“I really urge you all to pay attention to what we’re setting as a precedent,” said the mother. “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 the law claim that revealing student gender IDs to parents could cause harmful confrontations. And Gandhi cited suicide statistics put out by an LGBTQ advocacy group that claimed hiding students’ gender IDs from parents protects them.
“You teach your kids that nobody who asks you to keep a secret is safe,” another mother argued at the meeting. “Now, this is going the other way. This is an adult saying that they’ll keep a child’s secret.”