The Ontario school district's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion superintendent Jamila Maliha used the opportunity to suggest that students' "privacy" was more important than parents' rights, informing teachers and administrators that they were required to keep children's gender identities confidential unless given explicit consent otherwise.
"As we celebrate Pride Month, we would like to take this opportunity to share important reminders about student privacy," Maliha wrote in an internal email obtained by journalist Jonathan Kay.
"All students have the right to privacy," she stated. "Unless specifically directed by the student, schools must keep a student's trans identity confidential."
Maliha went on to explain that this meant "school staff should not disclose a student's gender identity to others unless there is a specific 'need to know' ... or if the student has given permission to share."
She suggested that because many of the students in the district who identify as something other than their biological sex "are not open about their identity at home for safety or other reasons," schools should "never disclose a student's gender identity to the student's guardian(s)/caregiver(s) without the student's explicit prior consent."
Maliha stressed that the policy should be followed "regardless of age or grade," and that it should apply even in cases involving elementary school students.
Many responded to the policy on Twitter with alarm, with Kay pointing out that, "as soon as @kprschools (or anyone else) says 'let's keep our little secret from mommy and daddy,' you’re going to lose 90% of the population."
There has been a push in recent months across Canada and the United States to keep students' gender identities secret from parents, with groups such as GLSEN openly advocating for the practice.
The organization's website states that, "Transgender and nonbinary students have the right to discuss and express their gender identity openly and to decide when, with whom, and how much to share private information."
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