A California high school history teacher has admitted that she helped students change gender identities without their parents’ knowledge.
Olivia Garrison, who is non-binary, told the New York Times that they feel like teachers are ‘protecting kids’ – ‘sometimes from their own parents.’
“My job, which is a public service, is to protect children,” Garrison said. ‘Sometimes, they need protection from their own parents.’
Garrison teaches at Del Oro High School in the Kern High School District (KHSD), which has a form that allows students to change their preferred name and gender marker without a parent’s signature.
The history teacher, who previously posted about their ‘queer safe space classroom’ on TikTok, is one of dozens of educators, government officials and parents The New York Times has spoken to about gender transition in schools.
Olivia Garrison, who previously posted on TikTok about her ‘queer safe space classroom’, admitted to helping students change their gender identity without parents’ knowledge.
Clementine Morales, a former Garrison student who is now 19, told The Times that they came out as nonbinary at school when they weren’t able to do so at home.
‘I had to look for parental figures in other people who were not my parents,’ Morales said.
Schools have come under pressure to meet the needs of transgender youth, but dozens of parents whose children have socially transitioned at school told The Times they have been ‘villainized by teachers who think they know what’s best for their children.’
Jessica Bradshaw of Torrance, Calif., told The Times that she learned about her 15-year-old’s social transition after reading their favorite names on a worksheet.
‘There was never a word from anyone to let us know that our daughter was our son on paper and in the classroom,’ said she, who accepted her child’s decision, but was angry that the school thought she was a bad parent. .
‘It felt like a parental stab in the back from the school system. We should have decided as a family.’
The student told The Times that his school gave him a place to belong that he otherwise lacked.
She said she had previously tried to approach her parents, but they didn’t take it seriously, which is why she turned to her school for support.
‘I wish schools didn’t have to hide it from parents or do it without parental permission, but it can be important,’ he said.
‘Schools are trying to do the best they can to keep students safe and comfortable. When you’re trans, you feel like you’re in danger all the time. Although my parents were accepting, I was scared, and that’s why the school didn’t tell them.’
Garrison teaches at Del Oro High School in the Kern High School District
The district has a form that allows students to change their preferred name and gender without a parent’s signature
The student attends a public school that is one of many that allow students to socially transition without their parents’ permission.
Social transitions can include changes in their name, pronouns, or gender expression.
Social transition guidelines vary by school district and state. Some states, including California, New Jersey and Maryland, advise schools not to release information about students’ gender identity without their permission.
But there are a few other states with anti-discrimination guidelines that are open to interpretation.
Jeff Walker, an Alabama father and another parent of a transgender student, told the Times he worries about other gender-nonconforming youth whose families aren’t open to transitioning.
“Not all children in this area have a safe place at home,” Walker said.
The New York Times also spoke with Dr. Erica Anderson, a psychologist who has helped hundreds of young people transition.
Anderson, who is transgender, filed a brief in support of the parents in a Maryland lawsuit claiming the district’s policy violates their rights, the Times reported.
She writes that social transition is ‘a major and potentially life-changing decision that requires parental involvement for many reasons.’
Read Full News Here