Moore County policy would require parental notification of pronoun changes
Teachers in Moore County Schools are now required to notify parents if a student wants to be addressed by different pronouns.
It's part of a so-called Parents Bill of Rights approved by the school board Monday night.
The policy — approved on a 6-1 vote — states “Parents are in the best position to work with their children and, where appropriate, their children’s health care providers to determine (a) what names, nicknames, and/or pronouns, if any, shall be used for their child by teachers and school staff while their child is at school, (b) whether their child engages in any counseling or social transition at school that encourages a gender identity that differs from their child’s biological sex, or (c) whether their child expresses a gender identity that differs with their child’s biological sex while at school.”
The language in the policy is like that of a model policy adopted by Virginia Department of Education in 2022.
Advocates say the policy could harm transgender students who are not out to their parents. Alex Lafferty, a 16-year-old trans student in Moore County, spoke against the proposal.
“As a human being, I'm insulted. You haven't the authority to treat children this way, to treat trans people this way, to cheat human beings this way," Lafferty said. "So many of us don't have supportive parents like I do. Do you know what unsupportive parents do to their transgender children?”
Michelle Cunningham, a teacher in the school system, told the board she tries to maintain a welcoming atmosphere in her classroom where all students feel accepted.
“I wish you would stop insulting our intelligence,” Cunningham said. “The parental rights policy has nothing to do with parental rights and all the rights stated in said policy already exist. This policy is one step to delegitimizing trans and nonbinary students.”
Supporters of the policy, like Marge Swartz of Pinehurst, said it shows the school system respects parents.
Swartz asked the board: “Why aren’t they (the parents) involved?”
The North Carolina Senate approved a bill containing a similar policy in February. Lawmakers are considering other bills that target LGBTQ youth, including a measure that would ban trans girls from playing on girls' sports teams.