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Tipsheet

Is This Ohio School District Serious With Its New 'Preferred Pronouns' Policy?

Ohio's Columbus City Schools are now requiring staff and parents of students to use students' preferred pronouns in a new policy announced Tuesday. The policy also permits students to change their pronouns with help from the district before informing parents.

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The new policy, titled “Transgender and Gender Variant Studies” outlines the school district’s mandate that staff must address students by their preferred pronouns, not biological sex. 

This radical policy was announced the same day The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty released their annual Religious Freedom Index. The index found that most Americans oppose using preferred pronouns in the classroom. The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is a non-profit public interest law firm based in Washington, D.C.

The Daily Signal’s Mary Margaret Olohan reported that 58% of Americans believe that schools should not force the use of preferred pronouns in the classroom.

“Americans are increasingly opposed to school rules that force one-sided gender ideology onto children in the classroom and seek to cut parents out of the discussion,” said president and CEO of the Becket Fund, Mark Rienzi, to The Daily Signal.

The policy also states that the district “shall take into consideration the desires of the individual transgender or gender nonconforming student” when it comes to decisions on bathroom use, locker rooms, sports, and overnight field trip sleeping situations.

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Policy protocol outlines that once a child requests to change their pronouns, the request will be sent to a district liaison. Then, the request will be reviewed by a “District support team,” including psychologists, counselors, social workers, school nurses, and building administrators. Finally, a District support team representative will loop in the parents, but not before the long list of county employees finds out first. 

All that means parents are an afterthought in this process as the county chooses an approach for their child(ren) first.

On the chance that parents do not consent to their child’s pronoun change, the school policy states “school staff will continue to work with families and students in an effort to arrive at a mutually agreeable solution.”

In short, this policy boots parents to the end of the line in discussions surrounding their children.

This Ohio county’s forced acceptance in the name of some students feeling “empowered in their identity” is not the first time parental rights have been undercut in the state. Ohioans overwhelmingly voted to include an amendment in the state’s constitution that allows for abortion on demand and invalidated parental consent and notification requirements.

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President Joe Biden stated that opposition to the amendment put the “health and lives of women in jeopardy.” But, when less than 5% of abortions occur for health and livelihood reasons, it becomes clear that the amendment expanded the abortion industry in Ohio by making it easier to circumvent parental consent.

"Columbus City Schools is clearly trying to subvert parental authority—and fly under the radar while doing so—with these vague and mealy-mouthed policies," said Alex Nester, an investigative fellow for Parents Defending Education Action, in a Crisis in the Classroom report.

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