Some members of the North Kingstown School Department Committee don’t think parents deserve to know when their child wants to be treated as the opposite sex in school.
During a recent discussion about the Rhode Island district’s proposed Gender Non-Conforming K-12 policy, two board members shared their eye-opening take on transgender issues in the school system.
This is the video where North Kingstown School Committee member says "I don't think parents should be notified" regarding "Gender Non-Conforming" K-12 policy. pic.twitter.com/ew3WchJkNw
— Ramona Bessinger🇺🇸 (@RamonaBessinger) January 29, 2024
“I think I need to point out that the high incidents of mental health and suicide and other stressors that transgender youth face are not because they are transgender, it has nothing to do with who they are,” one board member said in a video of the Jan. 25 meeting posted to X by Ramona Bessinger this week. “It’s because of the issues they face from other people not accepting them.”
A colleague then clarified those “other people” include their parents, who shouldn’t be alerted to their child’s struggles with gender identity.
“I don’t think parents should be notified” if a child changes their gender identity at school, the board member said, “simply because society assumes that every child has a well-meaning family culture that’s accepting of this.
“Sometimes the worst thing you can do is call a parent in some of these issues, based on their own beliefs and their own culture, and that will cause that student to commit suicide,” the woman continued. “If you tell a student who’s trusted you, who has come out to say that I’m lesbian, and you now go back and tell the parent, that child has no faith in that school system ever again.”
The recommended revisions for the policy posted to the district’s website states students can socially transition their gender identity at school at any time, with no medical or mental health diagnosis, and will be granted “access to preferred programs, activities, and facilities consistent with their gender identity.”
“Generally, notifying a student’s parent/guardian about his or her gender identity, expression, or transition, is unnecessary,” it read. “In some cases, notifying parents/guardians carries risks for the student, such as family rejection or physical abuse.
“Prior to notification of any parent/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 and must consider the health, well-being, and safety of the transitioning student.”
The proposed policy sparked an immediate response from Judicial Watch, a conservative nonprofit that investigates misconduct by government officials.
In a Jan. 29 letter to the district’s superintendent, Judicial Watch Southwest Projects Coordinator Mark Spencer requested a slew of public records on district policies, state laws, accommodations for specific students, and definitions of numerous terms used by committee members at the meeting.
Turning Point USA, a nonprofit that advocates for conservative policies in schools, reports one of the committee members who backed the policy to keep parents in the dark “appears to be committee member Jennifer Lima, who stated on her personal Facebook account that her page is ‘explicitly anti-racist, intersectionally feminist, pro-LGBTQIA+, and generally a place where marginalized voices are centered and amplified.’”
The nonprofit notes Lima “proudly shares quotes from Angela Davis, a radical political activist who was the third woman to ever be placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted list in connection to several kidnappings and murders.”
Lima has also promoted banned books to students, DEI policies for the district, the second annual NK Pride Parade, and other leftist causes on her Facebook page.
The comments from committee members is only the latest controversy in the district of 3,914 students, where both of the last two superintendents resigned.
A year ago, interim superintendent Judy Paolucci abruptly resigned over clashes with the committee and how it handles taxpayer money, noting nearly all of her emails to the committee went unanswered and they refused to address her concerns, according to WPRI.
Paolucci’s resignation just two months after taking the job followed the resignation of former superintendent Phil Auger, who resigned in 2022 amid state and federal investigations into how the district handled sexual harassment complaints against North Kingstown High School basketball coach Aaron Thomas.
Thomas was arrested in July 2022 on felony child molestation and sexual assault charges, and now faces a March 1 in his motion to dismiss the charges, Providence Business News reports.