SUMMA: Parental notification of name change in school isn’t enough

Most children (up to over 85%) suffering from gender dysphoria will feel comfortable with their biological gender once they complete puberty

(Jose Luis Magana / AP Photo)

Imagine, as a parent, receiving a call from your child’s school counselor notifying you that your child is proceeding forward with a life-altering decision. You don’t have the right to object. You are simply allowed to watch it happen. That’s what is going on in North Carolina public schools.

In an attempt to stop secret gender transitioning at school, the Parents’ Bill of Rights, recently passed by the legislature, requires these schools to notify parents about a child’s desire to change his/her name and pronouns. Parents can’t stop this first step in transitioning. They are simply given a ticket to the spectator box and told to sit down and shut up.

Beyond notification about the name and pronoun change, schools are not required to include parents in the gender transition. At least three counties — Buncombe, Orange and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools — spell out a gender-transitioning plan where parents are not required to be included. Teachers and other students must “get with the program” or possibly face harassment charges. Orange County specifically classifies refusing to refer to a person by the preferred name or pronouns as a form of “harassment” and requires other school personnel to report a teacher or student if the preferred names and pronouns are not used or that employee, himself, will be brought up for disciplinary action.

Critical to social transitioning is a change in dress, names and pronouns. Once thought to be nebulous, research now dictates otherwise. In 2022, following an extensive review of the evidence, the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS), once champions of gender transitioning, changed course. The new NHS guidelines, except for research, end all gender transitioning for minors and strongly discourage social transitioning because of its psychological effects on the minor. Another 2022 study, published in The Journal of Pediatrics, mirrored the impact of social transitioning, finding that five years after social transitioning, 94% of minors identified as transgender.

We know that most children (up to over 85%) suffering from gender dysphoria (G.D.) will feel comfortable with their biological gender once they complete puberty. We know that most of these children who suffer from G.D. also suffer from other unaddressed mental comorbidities. We also know that medical and surgical transitioning medicalizes a person for life. Shouldn’t parents have a right to say “no” to sending them down this path?

Strong churches and strong families are the backbone of a free society. When totalitarian governments take over, they seek to destroy them because they are the two institutions that demand allegiance to something other than the State.

The family cannot survive without strong parental rights. These rights are the brick and mortar of that wall that separates the family from the overarching power of government. Once that wall weakens, the government will step in and seize more and more parental authority in the areas of education, welfare, health and morality.

The transgender movement is one of the greatest assaults on our children, on parental rights and, ultimately, on our freedom. Schools should not be allowed to run interference for a gender-confused child and block the loving hand of a parent.

To ensure real parental rights in North Carolina, the law needs to be amended to require parental consent, not simply notification, before a child can be socially transitioned to be transgender at school. A parent in North Carolina should never, again, receive a call from school personnel sending them to the spectator booth to watch the destruction of their own child through transgenderism.

Mary Summa is general counsel of the NC Values Coalition.