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DfE Says Schools Have No “General Duty” to Allow Students to Change Their Gender Identity

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DfE Says Schools Have No “General Duty” to Allow Students to Change Their Gender Identity
Title: LGBTQ+ Source: Pinterest

The long-awaited government guidance for schools and colleges is finally here, addressing many issues. The Department for Education (DfE) finally published this draft guidance after repeatedly delaying its arrival. They announced the guide in 2018 and wanted to post it by that summer. 

However, for various reasons, they kept pushing it for months and years till it finally arrived in 2023. One of the controversial issues it addressed was children changing their gender identities in school without their parent’s knowledge. 

A statement in the guide says that schools have no “general duty” to allow children to change their gender identity. It also says that they should not exclude parents from decisions taken by a school or college relating to requests for a child to “socially transition.” 

Unions will also not compel teachers to address children who want to change their gender identity by their chosen pronoun if they have a “good faith” objection. Furthermore, the guide states that schools have no obligation to provide gender-neutral facilities such as toilets and changing rooms. For single-sex schools, the guide says they do need to accommodate transgender pupils.

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ALSO READ: Florida Teachers Sue State Over Anti-Pronoun Law in Schools

A source involved in this project spoke to The Telegraph, citing the various reasons for the rules in the guide. They said, “This Government firmly believes parents should be involved in decisions about their children and much more caution should be taken, so this guidance means there should effectively now be a presumption against social transitioning in schools.”

This results from several parents complaining about not knowing what their children are up to in school. They also complained that teachers tend to notice when students are transitioning. So, they would like them to alert the parents at home to guide these children right.  

POLL — Should Public Schools Include Critical Race Theory and Sex Education in Their Curriculum?

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The source also noted that the guidance would provide “much-needed certainty and protection to teachers and pupils. So, they will no longer feel forced to use different pronouns for gender-questioning children and won’t face a sanction for not doing so.” 

“It is a complex and sensitive issue, but we’ve taken the time to strike the right balance,” they added. However, not everyone believes so. While some people welcomed the guidance, others think they could do better by enforcing it as strict rules. 

Former prime minister Liz Truss agrees with this take. She said, “During the many months we have been waiting for its publication, it has become increasingly clear that non-statutory guidance will provide insufficient protection and clarity and that a change in the law of the land is required.”

ALSO READ: Gender Identity in Schools: Catholic School Contests Law Forcing the Hire of LGBTQ+ Teachers

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In addition, Truss believes that many people will find loopholes in the guidance. They can also use it to pursue their agendas. She said, “I fear that activists and others will be able to exploit loopholes in the guidance and the existing legal framework to pursue their agenda, leaving children at risk of making irreversible changes and with single-sex spaces not sufficiently protected.”

Others also think the guidance is “imperfect” and will allow many things to happen. Time will tell and show how schools will implement the guidelines. 

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