A gender expression guide quietly released in September by the Renfrew County District School Board (RCDSB) instructs teachers to not disclose the gender identity kids identify with to parents and guardians regardless of age, if requested to do so by the child.
“Changes to official records do not require consent from parents/guardians; however, legal guardians of a student have the right to access the student’s records,” writes the RCDSB.
“Regardless of age or grade, staff must keep a student’s gender identity and gender expression status confidential unless the student gives explicit consent to inform the parent(s)/guardian(s), or there is a specific ‘need to know’ (e.g., to fulfill a specific accommodation request).”
Other guidance in the RCDSB’s Gender Identity and Gender Expression Guideline also tells teachers to allow students to use restrooms, change rooms and overnight dormitories based on their self-identified gender without question.
The guide also threatens teachers who refuse to abide by the chosen name or pronouns of LGBTQ staff or students, saying that refusal to do so “may constitute discrimination or harassment on the ground of gender identity.”
“Intentional or persistent refusal to use a student’s or staff’s chosen name and/or pronouns is a violation of these guidelines and may constitute discrimination or harassment on the ground of gender expression,” warns the RCDSB.
On the use of washrooms and changing rooms for staff, students and visitors, RCDSB’s policy unequivocally states that choices must not be questioned. Even at overnight stays on field trips, students should be allowed to sleep in whichever dormitory that aligns with their self-identified gender.
“All students, parents/guardians, staff, and community members have a right to safe restroom facilities and the right to use a washroom that corresponds to the individual’s gender identity or gender expression,” writes the RCDSB. “This also holds true for changing facilities and overnight accommodations.”
“No student or staff member’s washroom use should be monitored or questioned by school staff or peers,” it continues.
“Schools and central buildings will provide access to change rooms for use by any person regardless of gender identity or gender expression. Schools may not impose the use of any change room for any student based on gender identity or gender expression,” the guide states.
The guide also instructs teachers on how to plan lessons that abide by equity and gender-identity principles in various subjects like the arts, social studies and English.
Art classes are guided to “deconstruct gender stereotyping in arts classes.” More broadly teachers are told to “encourage and model diverse family makeups.”
RCDSB’s policies directing teachers to hide gender-identity from parents align with those of other school boards across Ontario, including the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) which put out a similar guide last year.
As exclusively reported by True North, the OCDSB guide instructs teachers that “self-identification” was the only measure of a student’s gender entitling a child to use whichever bathroom or changing room they desired based on their chosen identity.
“Every person has the right to define their own gender identity. A person’s self-identification is the sole measure for their gender,” the document claimed.
“Trans, Two-Spirit, and gender diverse people are the experts in their own identities and experiences, and school staff must follow students’ leads regarding the spaces and language that are most comfortable for them at any time.”
Meanwhile, a recent intrusive survey sent out by the Toronto District School Board asked students to reveal details about their sexuality and knowledge about transgender topics such as “binding breasts.”