ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Anne Arundel County Public Schools is fighting off criticism after releasing an educational video for teachers about transgender students. In the video, school administrators explain how to approach situations when it comes to gender identity.
The school district said it has never dealt with a controversial situation surrounding a transgender student. They sent the 42-minute video out to all of its schools explaining the recent directives from the federal government and what the laws allow them to do or not to do.
In the video, school administrators explain that students who are transgender are allowed to share facilities with the gender they identify with. But by law, the school district said it is not allowed to tell other parents or students about a student's gender identity. It boils down to an issue of privacy.
“A student’s gender identity is a confidential matter, so if you have a student who identifies as transgender, the staff that are going to know are the staff that are in the immediate need-to-know circle, and we work with the student and the student’s family to determine that,” said Bob Mosier, spokesperson for Anne Arundel County Public Schools.
For instance, at overnight field trips, a transgender student would be allowed to sleep in the area of the gender they identify with. The same goes for using the restrooms at school.
We spoke with a few parents to get their take on the issue.
“I don't know what the answer is,” said one mother. “I'm not sure that I feel comfortable with the situation of someone who is, let’s say, going through some sort of change and staying with the girls on an overnight trip.”
“It's huge that we don't judge,” said another parent. “I feel that we are all human and we have to have more compassion. I have heard people say it opens up pedophile possibilities, but honestly I think there is good and bad in everything in this world and I don't believe that we need to judge.”
The school district said people need to look at the bigger picture. They said it is not a transgender or sexual orientation issue, but it is their job as a school system to support all children in the best way possible.