Leon school officials develop gender transition plan without parental approval – Tallahassee reports


Tallahassee Reports has learned that officials at a Leon County middle school interviewed a student and developed a gender transition plan without notifying the student’s parents.

The plan also included a strategy to hide the situation from parents during school-related communications.

The student’s parents requested not to be named in the TR report.

When questioned, school officials told parents that they were not required to be informed about the intervention based on state law and Leon County School guidelines ( LCS).

Superintendent Rocky Hanna, after meeting with the parents, asked school officials to contact parents in similar situations, unless a student is in danger.

However, there has been no official change from the original LCS guidelines and parents are concerned that Hanna’s leadership will not be followed by school officials.

The intervention

The student’s parents have contacted Tallahassee Reports to express their frustration with the situation and to highlight what they see as a lingering problem in schools in Leon County.

In August 2020, parents informed the school about gender identity issues with their daughter. The parents believed the problems started during the COVID quarantine and were a direct result of her group of friends.

Parents informed school officials that their daughter was in private consultation regarding the issue of gender identity.

In September 2020, her daughter told the mother that she had met several school officials and found it amusing that they asked her which bathroom she preferred to use due to her name change.

This LCS meeting with the student resulted in an interview that was commemorated in a six-page document titled “Support Plan for Non-Conforming Transgender / Gender Students”.

On page 2 of the document (below), the interviewer noted that parents were unaware of their child’s gender transition. The interviewer noted that the problem should be kept from parents.

The mother immediately emailed school officials expressing concerns about not being notified or present at the meeting.

The mother was informed by a school official that they could not tell them anything about the meeting because her daughter, by law, must be the one requesting the parents’ presence.

The school official added that his daughter was protected by a non-discrimination law that did not include parental notification or contribution.

Parents learn about LCS advice

In October 2020, parents contacted the LCS district office and asked about the specific law or policy that allowed the school to meet their daughter without parental notification.

In November 2020, parents learned that Florida statutes and LCS guidelines allow the school to meet their daughter without their participation.

Specifically, officials said Florida law requires LCS staff to keep a student’s LGBTQ + status confidential and let the student control confidential information about their identity.

In addition, parents have been told that LCS guidelines state that parents should not be notified if a student has exhibited behavior that causes administrators or teachers to believe the student is LGBTQ +.

The advice stated that some “students cannot go out at home because their parents do not accept LGBTQ + people.”

In December 2020, the family met Superintendent Rocky Hanna and let him know from start to finish what had happened with their daughter.

They told Hanna that “parents are excluded from this very important meeting which can have lifelong consequences as the child chooses a social transition without due process.”

Hanna agreed and apologized for the way the situation was handled.

The orientation remains unchanged, the involvement of parents “encouraged”

At a follow-up meeting in January 2021, Hanna informed parents that the guidelines would be changed. Hanna said the new language will require parental notification when gender issues are identified, unless the child is proven to be in physical danger.

However, it appears that the guidelines have not yet been officially changed.

In March 2021, LCS officials told parents that they had issued directives to principals, deputy directors for administration and deans that unless there was imminent danger to the well- be of the pupil (physical damage, abuse, etc.), they are encouraged to inform parents and to get together. a meeting.

However, during this period, the LCS website still provided advice that ordered the exclusion of parents when dealing with gender identity issues.

In a meeting with parents in July 2021, LCS removed the guidance language from the district’s website and told parents they were working on revised guidance. Parents have also been told that any new policy created should be submitted to the school board for a vote with a public comment forum.

Parents told TR this week that beyond comments Hanna made at a principal’s meeting, no formal changes to the guidelines – which allowed parents to be excluded from meetings – were currently in place.

Hanna told TR that the language for official guidelines related to this issue is currently under development.

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