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Should Schools Inform Parents of Students’ Gender Transitions? Here's What a New Poll Shows.

AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

Late last month, Townhall reported how a parental rights group exposed a school district in Kansas that was providing students with a “gender support plan” that allowed students who identify as “transgender” to keep their gender identity a secret from their parents. Several schools around the country have been outed in recent months for implementing similar policies. A new poll released Tuesday found that the majority of voters believe parents should be involved in issues pertaining to their children’s gender identity at school.

The poll released by parental rights organization Parents Defending Education found that 74 percent of registered voters believe that schools should not help students change their gender identity without parental consent. 

In the poll, 71 percent of registered voters oppose letting schools withhold information about a child’s gender identity from their parents. This includes 76 percent of black voters, 71 percent of white voters, 66 percent of Hispanic voters, and 59 percent of Asian voters and 85 percent of Republicans, 74 percent of Independent voters, and 59 percent of Democrats.

In addition, 71 percent of registered voters support legislation requiring schools to inform parents if their child wants to “socially transition” and change their gender identity at school. This would include going by a chosen name and preferred pronouns. Seventy-five percent of registered voters in the poll said that they support legislation requiring schools to get parental consent before helping a student change their gender identity at school. The poll sampled 1,600 registered voters between March 15-20 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.45 percentage points.

"The numbers speak for themselves: opposition to parental exclusion policies spans racial, political, and socioeconomic lines,” Nicki Neily, president and founder of PDE said in a statement. “These immoral policies undermine the relationship between parent and child – and, to add insult to injury, is being underwritten with our own tax dollars through the public school system. Education officials at the local, state, and federal level have demonstrated a callous disregard for parental rights, highlighting the need for both courts and policymakers to act, in order to end this egregious overreach."

Earlier this month, House Republicans introduced H.R. 5, known as the “Parents Bill of Rights” to protect parental involvement in education. The legislation gives parents the right to know what’s being taught in schools and to see school reading materials, the right to be heard, the right to see the school budget and spending, the right to protect their child’s privacy, and the right to be updated on any violent activity at school.

“You have a say in your kids' education, not government and not telling you what to do," McCarthy said in remarks at the Capitol on the day the bill was announced.

“Our polling shows, unequivocally, that parents should be the principal decision makers for the education of their children. This fundamental American belief that parents know what’s best for their child transcends politics, race, and income. Parents have called on districts to respond to their yearning for transparency and accountability to no avail,” Caroline Moore, vice president of PDE, said in a statement. “Parents are looking to the many states across the country, as well as Congress, who are currently taking up the fight for parental rights through legislation at the state and federal level. It couldn’t be more fitting that Congress is slated to vote on the Parents Bill of Rights Act later this week, which will codify parental rights in education through legislation and give parents the transparency and accountability that is non-existent at the district level.”

Last year, Republican Sen. Tim Scott (SC) introduced legislation that would prevent schools from hiding information about a student’s gender identity from their parents. This came after school districts in Virginia and California were exposed for concealing this information from parents. The legislation would withhold federal funding from schools that allow students to change their preferred pronouns, gender markers on school documentation and sex-based accommodations at the school.

“The results of this survey simply reinforce what we at Parents Defending Education have been hearing from parents all over the country: the constant whispering at our children’s ears that we -their parents- are their enemy, is negatively impacting families everywhere,” Mailyn Salabarria, director of community engagement at PDE, said. “Education officials at all levels and policymakers should take note: we are the parents, we all want the best for our children, and we are not going anywhere anytime soon.”

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