New Delaware Rule Would Let Students Choose Their Gender, Race Without Parents Consent
The Delaware Department of Education is considering a regulation that would let students self-identify their gender or race without parental knowledge or consent.
If approved, students could also ask teachers and staff to refer to them by a different name.
The regulations also spell out the student's parents would only be contacted for permission if they are "supportive of the student" and aware the student identifies in a certain way.
Republican lawmakers and parents say the education department is ignoring their concerns over the new rules.
Gov. John Carney ordered the department in July to write the non-discrimination policy to acknowledge that not all parents are accepting when their children tell them they are of a different sexual orientation or gender.
Nicole Theis, founder, and president of the conservative Delaware Family Policy Council denounced the regulation in a strongly-worded blog post. The non-profit has also started circulating a petition against the regulation.
"If you as a parent are perceived to be 'unsupportive,' your child can take on a new identity without your knowledge, permission or consent," she wrote. "Policies like Regulation 225 are setting parents up as a 'non-ally' and 'unsupportive,' discriminatory, even abusive if they affirm their child's biological realities and work through it instead of embracing the confusion."
She also criticized part of the regulation that would require school districts and charter schools to work with students and families to provide access to locker rooms and bathrooms that correspond to students' gender identity or expression.
"No student should ever be pressured to undress, shower or share overnight accommodations with individuals of the opposite sex," Theis said in a statement.
The Radiance Foundation, a non-profit educational, faith-based, life-affirming organization to help people understand and embrace their God-given purpose, praised Theis on their Facebook page.
"Welcome to the United States of Confusion. Thank you, Delaware Family Policy Council for calling out this absurd and dangerous overreach by public education officials. "If you as a parent are perceived to be 'unsupportive,' your child can take on a new identity without your knowledge, permission or consent." the foundation wrote.
Rep. Rich Collins, R-Millsboro, told Delawareonline.com that there has been a rapid push to implement the anti-discrimination regulations. He said the new rules would produce confusion and likely create additional disputes and lawsuits.
"I believe the proposed policy is outlandish, allowing children of any age to 'self-identify' their gender and race and to choose a new name that school officials must use," he said in a statement. "There is no limit in Rule 225 as to how many times these actions could be taken by the student."
According to Delawareonline.com, since 2013, Delaware has joined a minority of states that expressly prohibit discrimination based on gender identity, which falls under the umbrella of protected classes like race, religion, ethnicity and sexual orientation.