A Philadelphia school district has announced it will allow students to pick their gender identity and name on virtual education platforms without needing parents' consent.
The School District of Philadelphia adopted a policy Monday that would add "nonbinary" as an option alongside "male" and "female" on Google Classroom and Infinite Campus, which are online learning tools.
According to a district blog post, the identification would also affect how students' names are printed on report cards and other assessments.
"The School District of Philadelphia is committed to providing safe and inclusive learning environments that support the emotional and mental health of all our students," wrote District Superintendent William Hite in an online letter.
According to the new rules, students will be allowed to change their gender without a parent or guardian's permission.
"Science tells us that children’s minds are not fully developed and are in need of parental guidance in making major, life-altering choices," Elizabeth Johnston, also known as the Activist Mommy, told CBN News.
Under the policy, teachers and staff would be required to use a student's preferred gender identity or pronouns, as indicated in a student's online profile. Any "intentional or persistent refusal" to address students by their gender preference will be considered a violation of the policy.
"We do understand that today a lot of individuals do not identify with the gender to which they were born," Monica Lewis, spokesperson for the School District of Philadelphia, told WVPI-TV.
Johnston, author of "Not on My Watch: How to the Fight for Family, Faith, and Freedom" said Philadelphia school district officials are simply not listening to parents.
"If the educational bureaucrats in Philadelphia were listening to the parents who pay them for their services, they would hear loud and clear that parents do not support this policy."
Hite acknowledged that changes made to students' identities would not carry over to state-run electronic systems because they recognize students' legal names and identities at birth. However, the school district has advocated for changes at the state and federal levels.
"When submitting information to the PA State Department of Education, the District will be able to note that a student identifies as non-binary, but the state is required to record and display the information from the legal birth certificate," Hite wrote.
The school district's change follows the 252 policy that addressed protections for transgender students. Under it, students were promised a gender-neutral bathroom, and school staff were told to use gender-neutral language and "eliminate the practice of segregating students by gender."
The School District of Philadelphia is not the only school to implement these policies.
Earlier this month, Chicago Public Schools announced they will use "gender-neutral" signage outside of bathrooms and on fixtures so that "anyone who feels comfortable" can use any restroom.
Los Angeles schools allow parents to enroll their children as non-binary and New York schools have adopted a policy that allows students to use a form to change their identity.
"A dysfunctional education system is one in which public schools think they know better than parents how to raise their children, and therefore, demand that parents cater to the worldview of said system," Johnston added.
"This is not how the public education system should work," she continued. "When taxpayer funded schools are working correctly, the parents tell the schools what they want, and the schools comply."
CBN News has reached out to the School District of Philadelphia for comment and at the time of publication, they have not responded.
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