Pennsylvania Parents Object To Kid Counseling Over Transgender Third Grader

Illustration for article titled Pennsylvania Parents Object To Kid Counseling Over Transgender Third Grader

Hot on the heels of NPR's two feature stories on transgender children comes news of a Haverford, Pennsylvania 3rd grader who will be making the transition from male to female. Apparently, parents are up in arms because the Haverford School District sent out a letter giving parents one day of notice "of planned counseling sessions with 100 third-grade students to explain that one of their male classmates would soon begin wearing girls' clothing and taking a female name and to ask that they accept him as a girl and not make unkind remarks." Most parents and students have taken the transition of this transgender student in stride, but a few have been openly critical of the way the school district chose to handle the situation.


In an op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Marybeth T. Hagan says that when she first heard about the transgender child, she exclaimed, "Where is the school? California?" (It seems that in Marybeth's world, transgender students are a product of new age methodology and organic produce.) Hagan, shocked to find out that this was occurring in her own backyard, objected to the way the situation was handled, because she feels that parents were not given enough advanced warning. "Introduction of sexual abuse prevention programs over the years should have taught these educators that most parents like to have a say in all aspects of their children's sexual education - particularly one that could be controversial," she reasons.

Other parents have spoken out harshly on the Haverford Township blog and eight parents called the principal to ask that their children not attend the transgender counseling session, according to the Inquirer. I have no doubt that the educators thought long and hard about how to present this issue to their students — according to reports, they consulted transgender experts, the student's family, and child psychologists. One parent, Valerie Huff, whose daughter is friends with the transgender student, thinks that the letter didn't need to go out in the first place, as "The kids don't make any big deal about it at all." It's not surprising in the least that 9-year-olds are being more open minded about differences than some of their parents.

School Challenge: Transgender Student Is Age 9 [Philadelphia Inquirer]
3rd-graders Asked To Help Classmate in Gender Change [World Net Daily]
School's Sensitivity Is Off-Target [Philadelphia Inquirer]

Earlier: Parents Of Transgender Boys Take Different, Provocative Paths
Controversial Treatment Allows Transgender Children To Delay Puberty



I think I agree with Valerie here: I don't know that the school handled this in the best possible way. It was well-intentioned if poorly executed (one day's notice, really?). As I have said before on this site, maybe this is just the Connecticutian in me, but do we really have to discuss EVERYTHING. Kids will ask why so and so is different now, so and so or the teacher will answer and they will move on. Calm DOWN, everyone.

@ronaldpagan: KINDERGARTEN? Coming from a Holocaust education background, I don't know if that's the most appropriate time to bring up the Holocaust. Still sweet that kids CAN have an incredible sense of social justice. I was a pre-school teacher in college and I had moments where a child's sweetness in those matters literally made me cry.