Transgender teacher has parents upset

Filed under: Big Kids, Tweens, In The News, Day Care & Education

gender symbolsWhen school started this year, it probably didn't take long for students at Foxboro Elementary School to notice that there was something familiar about their new music teacher. He looked a lot like their old music teacher, except for the fact that the old teacher was a woman and the new one a man. Because they shared the same last name, perhaps they assumed the two were brother and sister. But the truth is that thanks to gender reassignment surgery over the summer, Miss Music Teacher and Mister Music Teacher are one and the same.

I imagine Mister Music Teacher somehow explained the situation to his curious students, but the school didn't bother explaining it to the parents. Which, as you can imagine, has them very freaked out. "All the information came straight from our kids and didn't come from the school board or the teachers ... this has all been second-hand information," parent Melissa Oiland said.

School officials explain that they have an obligation to respect the privacy of their employees and disclosing this information to parents would have violated HIPPA rules governing the security and privacy of health data. They probably wanted to avoid the freaked out parent situation, but school lawyers told them they couldn't.

But now that the cat is out of the bag, angry parents are pulling their kids from Mister Music Teacher's class. And not just a few - 23 students from 15 families have transferred out.

I can certainly understand why parents would be angry that they were not given the opportunity to be the one to explain gender reassignment to their kids. But it does seem like the school's hands were tied on the matter and there is nothing they could have done different. Perhaps the responsible thing to do would have been for Mister Music Teacher to voluntarily share the news with parents so they wouldn't have to hear it from their kids. It's not like you can keep gender reassignment a secret anyway.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.