England’s Schools Should Inform Parents About Student Gender Identity Changes, New Government Guidance Says

"Parents should not be excluded from decisions."

Schools in England should inform parents when a child changes their gender identity, according to new government guidance issued this week.

The long-awaited new guidance, published Tuesday by the United Kingdom’s Department for Education, applies to schools in England and has been expected since 2018.

“Parents should not be excluded from decisions taken by a school or college relating to requests for a child to ‘socially transition,'” the guidance states.

A “social transition” can involve a student taking using a new name, new pronouns, different clothing, and using the bathrooms or playing on the sports teams of the opposite sex.

The guidance notes that there has been a “significant increase” in children questioning “the way they feel about being a boy or a girl, including their physical attributes of sex and the related ways in which they fit into society.”

However, gender identity ideology is a “contested belief,” the guidance says.

Schools should get parents involved and encourage the child themselves to talk to their parents except in the “exceptionally rare” cases where involving parents would put the child at “significant risk of harm,” according to the guidance.

“The views of the child’s parents should carry great weight and be properly considered. We would expect parental consent to be required in the vast majority of cases,” the guidance states.

When a school does decide to accommodate a student who wants to socially transition, the school should take a “cautious approach,” notifying parents and allowing a period of “watchful waiting” before cooperating.

The guidance also advises that schools should take even “greater caution” with younger children in elementary school, who should not be referred to by pronouns different from their sex.

Pronoun changes are expected to be accommodated on “very few occasions,” and even in those cases no teacher or student should be forced to use the new pronouns. The guidance notes that those with religious or other beliefs who disagree with allowing a child to transition have “legitimate views that must be respected.”

Schools should, according to the document, also consider whether the child was influenced by social media or peers, whether they feel pressured to transition because they do not fit in with sex stereotypes, whether they are also questioning their sexual orientation, and whether they have special needs. The potential effect on other students may also make it impossible to support a transition request.

Children should use the bathrooms, showers, and locker rooms of their biological sex, the guidance says. If a child is distressed by this, they may use a separate facility that does not belong to the opposite sex.

Sports should be separated by biological sex when physical differences threaten the safety of children.

“There can be no exception to this. Boys constitute more of a risk to girls because they are generally stronger, larger and heavier than girls, especially when they are going through or have been through puberty,” according to the guidance.

For sleeping arrangements, no child should be allowed to share a room with a child of the opposite sex, the guidance says. Also, all-boys and all-girls schools are allowed to refuse to admit students of the opposite sex.

The guidance concludes that there is “no general duty to allow a child to ‘social transition.'”

The guidance cites a major independent review on children and gender identity commissioned in 2020 by England’s National Health Service (NHS) and conducted by Dr. Hilary Cass, former president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

The Cass review’s interim report is clear that social transition is “not a neutral act,” and that it can have “significant psychological effects” on a young person. “Better information is needed about the outcomes” for children who socially transition, the guidance notes.

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said the new guidance puts children’s best interests first and removes “any confusion about the protections that must be in place for biological sex and single-sex spaces.”

“Parents’ views must also be at the heart of all decisions made about their children – and nowhere is that more important than with decisions that can have significant effects on a child’s life for years to come,” Keegan said in a statement.

In recent years, the United Kingdom and other countries in Europe have pumped the brakes on both transgender social “transitions” and medical interventions for children.

In the U.S., parents across the country have expressed concerns about school’s hiding their children’s new gender identities and encouraging their social “transition.”

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