Rhode Island’s K-12 Transgender Policy: Why Are Education Commissioner and Council Silent?
Following our first inquiry of Education Commissioner Angelica Infante-Green and the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education about Rhode Island transgender policy in K-12 schools and their non-response, Anchor Rising reached out a second time, this time asking,
… current RIDE policy permits schools to discuss transgender procedures with students. RIDE policy also permits schools to refrain from notifying the parents of students at the secondary level who may be considering or are undergoing gender transition.
However, thousands of transgender individuals have detransitioned: the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey alone references 2,242 individuals who have done so. The stories of an increasing number of detransitioners have been in the news recently.
In light of this, is RIDE considering changes to its transgender policies given that the effects of transitioning – sterility and non-functional organs – are permanent while a child’s impulses are changeable and ephemeral?
Both Education Commissioner Angelica Infante-Green and the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education also refused to respond to this second question.
A couple of common sense, foundational items.
1.) The vast majority of Rhode Island children in K-12 schools are minor and, therefore, legally and developmentally incapable of making a major decision about life-changing, permanent surgery and hormonal procedures.
2.) With the vast, overwhelming majority of families, parents care far more than anyone about their children. Therefore, it is obvious and crucial that they be informed if their child is considering something as monumental as transgender procedures. Add to this fundamental parental rights that include the pretty obvious right to be informed about everything to do with their children.
The Introduction to Rhode Island’s transgender policy for K-12 schools states that
All students need a safe and supportive school environment to progress academically and developmentally.
The purview to implement, perpetuate or lead change to the state’s K-12 transgender policy is vested in Rhode Island’s Education Commissioner and the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education via the authority of the governor. As currently written, this policy allows school officials to discuss transgender procedures with children and, in the case of students at the secondary level, to refrain from notifying their parents that they may be considering or are undergoing gender transition procedures.
If the policy does, indeed, foster a “safe” school environment and is what is best for Rhode Island’s children and families, why are the Education Commissioner and the Council studiously declining to answer questions about it?
Featured Image by Kristina Flour via Unsplash