North Dakota School District Won’t Tell Parents About Kids’ Gender Identity Despite Law
"Our students need advocates, not opposition," the superintendent said in defending the decision.
A school district in North Dakota will not abide by a new state law requiring teachers to tell parents if their child identifies as transgender.
Citing recent suicide rates among LGBTQ+ youth, Dr. Rupak Gandhi, the Fargo Public Schools superintendent, announced that the district would be obeying federal law and not the new state law.
"As a district and as an administration, my responsibility is to our students and our educators," Gandhi said at the meeting, which happened the day after the new legislation was signed into law by North Dakota Gov. Republican Doug Burgum.
The bill also allows public schools and government entities to ignore the pronouns of transgender people.
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"There will be times where we have to make decisions that may not be interpreted in the same accordance of the spirit of state law," he added, saying the law places "politics over our humanity."
"Our students need advocates, not opposition," Gandhi said, adding that he would not allow the outing of any of the district's students.
The decision was met with ire from some parents and local clergy, who spoke out during a 50 minute-long public comment period at the board's crowded May 23 meeting.
"My two children are my two children, not yours," one mom said, pointing at the board before threatening legal action. "If very important information is being shared with a teacher or staff member and you withhold that information from me, the parent, god forbid something happened to my child."
Another woman said the board would be setting a bad example for students by breaking state law.
Several speakers said they didn't think it was the district's place to keep students' secrets from their own parents.
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