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Alaska school policy lets administrators hide gender identity of students from parents, watchdog finds

Anchorage School District allows students to keep their gender identity confidential, even from parents, according to Parents Defending Education.

The Anchorage School District enforces a policy that allows students to keep their gender identity a secret from their parents, according to a watchdog group.

Parents Defending Education, a grassroots organization fighting against "woke" ideology in classrooms across the country, found the school district in Alaska allows gender identify to be kept from unsupporting parents.

"In some cases … notifying parents carries risks for the student if the family does not support the student’s desire to transition," according to language in the district's policy.

"Prior to notification of any parent or guardian regarding the transition process, school staff should work closely with the student to assess the degree to which, if any, the parent/guardian will be involved in the process, considering at all times the health, well-being, and safety of the transitioning student."

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It's unclear when the policy was first enacted, but the document was revised in August 2020. The school district could not be reached for comment before publication.

Erika Sanzi, Parents Defending Education's outreach director, told Fox News Digital the biggest concern is the "baked-in deception of parents" that appears in the district's policy.

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"Anchorage is just very, very similar to what we're seeing nationally," Sanzi said. "I see betrayal baked into these policies. I'm a mother of three school-aged kids. I worked in schools for many years. When I was working in schools, there was never an expectation that I deceive parents or lie to parents."

The school district also has a confidential form students can fill out that permits them to include both their birth name and preferred name, along with their locker room and bathroom preferences.

The form explicitly indicates it will remain confidential, only accessible to those with a "legitimate need to know," and is signed by the student and the principal.

This arrangement allows children to adopt distinct names at school by using the "nickname" section of the form.

Legally, parents have a right to access their child's school records. But Sanzi said when minors claim to have a different gender identity, districts may have two separate records: an official record with the child's biological sex and legal information and an "unofficial" student record that will have the child's preferred gender identity.

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"I think it has real ethical problems," Sanzi said. "Parents have a right to see all of it."

Anchorage isn't the only school district in Alaska following such guidelines. Fairbanks North Star Borough, Juneau, Nome Public Schools and Skagway have also enacted similar policies, the group said.

Similar to Anchorage's policy, the Fairbanks North Star district policy says if a child identifies as a different gender or uses specific pronouns, a "school should focus on the student’s safety as the priority when providing or reporting information about the student to parents or guardians."

Parents Defending Education has found more than 1,000 school districts and at least 18,000 schools across the U.S. with transgender/gender non-conforming policies that explicitly say educators "can or should keep a student’s transgender status hidden from parents."

A California school district introduced a policy in July mandating parental notification when students alter their gender identity. Last week, California Attorney General Rob Bonta disclosed a civil rights investigation into the Chino Valley Unified School District.

"Chino Valley Unified’s forced outing policy threatens the safety and well-being of LGBTQ+ students vulnerable to harassment and potential abuse from peers and family members unaccepting of their gender identity," a press release from Bonta's office says. 

"Today’s announcement stresses our commitment to challenging school policies that target and seek to discriminate against California’s most vulnerable communities. California will not stand for violations of our students’ civil rights."

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