‘Teachers rushed to help our boy become a girl’: Parents slam school for calling their son by female name without checking with them first after he told them he was trans
- School, in Rhondda Cynon Taf, south Wales, said boy asked to join girls’ PE class
- Family said they wanted boy, who was under 14, to have therapy before decisions
- Guidance from council, known as trans toolkit, has been temporarily removed
Parents have slammed a school for calling their son by a female name without checking with them first after he told them he was transgender.
The school, in Rhondda Cynon Taf, south Wales, said the boy, who was under 14, had requested he be called by a girl’s name and asked to join girls’ PE classes.
The boy’s father said his son ‘had been bullied before’ but that he had ‘never mentioned these feelings’, according to The Sunday Times.
Parents have slammed a school for calling their son by a female name without checking with them first after he told them he was transgender (stock image)
During a meeting with the school, the family expressed that they wanted their son to be allowed therapy before changes were made.
But the school said it was obliged to follow guidance from the local authority, known as a trans toolkit, and that some teachers had already started calling him by a female name.
The boy’s father said: ‘They said the child is within their rights to do this. We were like, “No, wait, don’t put him on a path we are really frightened of, we do not know where this path leads”.
‘The school was in a difficult position [as] they were following guidelines from the council which seemed to say go along with the child’s wishes. It was a horrible time.’
During meetings with the school, it was suggested the boy meet an advocate from a charity, who his parents thought would be ‘neutral’ and would ‘give him a voice’.
But notes from the meeting, according to a legal letter, said the advocate had told the boy it was his ‘human right to be called whatever he wants’.
The school, in Rhondda Cynon Taf, south Wales, (pictured) said the boy, who was under 14, had requested he be called by a girl’s name and asked to join girls’ PE classes
The boy also told his parents the advocate allegedly said that if his name was not changed on the school register ‘a*** would be kicked big time’, and he should try wearing girls’ clothes.
After the family challenged this with lawyers, Rhondda Cynon Taf county borough council confirmed that it had temporarily removed the toolkit and would review it.
This guidance had advised schools that they should support children to change gender, and that they could use toilets and changing facilities most closely aligned with their identity.
The trans toolkit for teachers stated: ‘Remember that a pupil who identifies as a trans girl but was born biologically male is not a “boy dressed as a girl” but is a girl who outwardly at this point resembles a “boy”.’
A Rhondda council spokesman said: ‘Given that over two years have passed since the toolkit was introduced, the school summer holiday has provided us with an opportune time to consider how the toolkit might be improved to better support schools and their pupils. We will look to reinstate the toolkit as soon as possible, once our review is complete.
‘RCT council, like others in the local authority sector, is committed to establishing arrangements that can assist in providing support to transgender and gender-questioning pupils. It would not be appropriate to comment on any single case or individual situation.’
Scottish education secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said: ‘This guidance outlines how schools can support transgender young people while ensuring that the rights of all pupils are fully respected’
This comes as Scotland announced earlier this month that children as young as four will be able to change their gender at school without their parents’ consent.
Any pupil who decides they want to switch gender must be supported and listened to in school following the Scottish Government advice.
The guidance applies in primary schools, where the youngest children are only four or five, because ‘recognition and development of gender identity can occur at a young age’.
It also tells teachers not to question a child who says they want to transition to live as a boy or a girl – and instead ask for their new name and pronouns.
Primary and secondary schools have also been told to put books featuring transgender people on the curriculum, allow pupils to choose which changing room or toilets to use, and consider introducing a gender neutral uniform.
But the guidance was branded ‘shocking’ and led to concerns that children are being allowed to make life-changing decisions at too young an age.
The advice says: ‘Some young people are exploring their gender identity in primary school settings. Primary schools need to be able to meet the needs of these young people to ensure they have a safe, inclusive and respectful environment in which to learn.’
A section on ‘changing name and recorded sex’ says children simply need to tell others informally that they want to use a different name, and that they don’t need to record this formally on their official school record. Advice to school staff on what to do if a child wants to discuss their gender includes asking ‘what name and pronoun you should use to address them’.
It also says that they should ask if their family are aware they are considering their gender identity – but does not suggest the teacher should contact them.
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