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'Parents should know': Kansas AG turns up the heat on school districts that 'socially transition' kids behind parents' backs
Aaron P. Bernstein/Bloomberg via Getty Images

'Parents should know': Kansas AG turns up the heat on school districts that 'socially transition' kids behind parents' backs

Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach is turning up the heat on "troublesome districts" that have doubled-down on policies allegedly allowing schools to "socially transition" students without parental consent. The Republican AG has narrowed the remaining offenders down to a handful of districts, which he appears keen to rein in.

"A child changing his or her gender identity has major long-term medical and psychological ramifications," Kobach said in a statement Thursday. "Parents should know, and have an opportunity to be involved in such an important aspect of their well-being."

According to the Washington Examiner, Kobach used Parents Defending Education's list of parental exclusion policies to pinpoint offending districts in Kansas. After drilling down on each district's policies and weighing their constitutionality, Kobach identified six school districts that were allegedly undermining parental rights.

The Republican AG penned letters to the districts in December, specifically challenging policies that require school staff to hide a student's transvestism or "gender non-conforming" status from their parents, reported the Associated Press.

The letters accused the districts of surrendering "to woke gender ideology" and stressed it "would be arrogant beyond believe to hide something with such weighty consequences from the very people (parents) that both law and nature vest with providing for a child's long-term well-being."

Kobach indicated Thursday that upon notifying the districts and asking whether they had collected parental input prior to adopting the radical policies, two districts — Belle Plaine and Maize — "responded that they had no intention of cutting parents out of the process and immediately rescinded or amended their polices."

"A lot of times these policies are pushed by outside activist organizations and adopted by school boards without being fully informed about what the policy would actually do," said Kansas Deputy Attorney General Abhishek Kambli. "Belle Plaine and Maize should be praised for responding swiftly when they saw what was going on."

Three of the four other districts — Kansas City, Shawnee Mission, and Topeka — refused to back down on keeping parents in the dark, according to Kobach.

The Olathe School District alternatively appears to have had a change of heart this week. The attorney general noted on X that the OSD has scheduled a meeting to discuss its policy.

OSD said in a statement obtained by KSHB-TV that they had developed "internal administrative guidelines" for staff, but that no formal policy has ever existed.

The OSD's "Guidance Related to Gender Identity," obtained by Parents Defending Education via a public records request, states the "best practice is for staff to obtain parental consent before addressing the student publicly by their preferred name and/or pronoun." However, it goes on qualify such disclosures, noting instances where parents could be left in the dark.

"Staff must be carefully to refrain from incautious disclosure of a student's gender status and/or sexual orientation. Informing the decision to disclose to a parent/guardian are considerations related to the age of the student; whether the student has developmental disabilities; protecting the privacy interests of the student; whether the communications with the parent would cause trauma to the student, and a fear for the child's health as a result of the communication," says the guidance.

If a child expressed delusions about their sex, teachers in the Shawnee Mission School District are apparently required to notify the principal, who in turn "meets with the student to share support and gauge the level of family involvement."

The Kansas City Kansas Public Schools' guidance that the PDE has on file states, "School personnel should not disclose information that may reveal a student's transgender status or gender or gender nonconforming presentation to others, including parents and other school personnel, unless legally required to do so or unless the student has authorized such disclosure."

Topeka Public Schools' revised 2018 guidance echoes the KCKPS recommendations.

Topeka told the AP that its practices are legal.

Shawnee Mission superintendent Michelle Hubbard claimed Kobach was relying on "misinformation" from "partisan sources" and indicated she took offense to his use of woke "as an insult."

KCKPS declined the AP's request for comment. The other outliers claimed they handled gender dysphoric students on a case by case basis and seek to work with parents.

"Parental exclusion policies purposely tarnish relationships between parents and children," Caroline Moore, vice president of Parents Defending Education, said in a statement. "Kansas is a great example of recognizing an issue that impacts all and correcting course, so these policies don't plague another generation of students and their families."

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