Emails show that the club sponsor of the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) club at Montford Middle School advised a teacher that they were not obligated to share information from students related to gender/sexuality issues with their parents.
Stacy Thompson, the media specialist at Montford and GSA sponsor, was asked a question by a teacher after Thompson sought out volunteers to post “Safe Place” flags in Montford classrooms.
The teacher responded to Ms. Thompson’s request:
“I am 100% a safe person, and I will get a flag…..but I do have a question. Because it has been in the public conversation lately…..if a student shares something with me, am I obligated to inform the parent?” (Emphasis added)
Ms. Thompson followed up with her view of the teacher’s responsibility:
“No. I think there are privacy laws protecting the student. Obviously if it is self harming, yes. But questions about sexuality and choosing different pronouns, no. I think slide 2 has a link that explains some about that. I appreciate you asking.”
Another email from Camilia Wilson, a reading teacher who is helping with GSA club, informed teachers that being a “Safe Place” also required that teachers not to “out students” to their parents.
Wilson wrote in an email to Ms. Thompson,
“Then, for staff, inform them of what it ultimately means to have one of these “Safe Space” signs, perhaps including tips for HOW to have these conversations (listen…), what to do (don’t out students to their parents, only REPORT if they indicate that they are self harming or have suicidal thoughts), and highlighting the importance and the RESPONSIBILITY that we have as educators to be supportive of these students.” (Emphasis added)
TR has previously written about Leon County middle school officials who interviewed a student and developed a gender transition plan without notifying the student’s parents. The plan also included a strategy to hide the situation from the parents during school related communications.