Colorado Teachers Union Told Teachers To Destroy Evidence Of Student Surveys On Gender Identity: Report

"Make your notations about students and not hold on to the documents."
Middle Island, N.Y.: A student at Longwood Middle School in Middle Island, New York takes the NY State math test on May 2, 2017. (Photo by John Paraskevas/Newsday RM via Getty Images)
John Paraskevas/Newsday RM via Getty Images

A Colorado teachers union reportedly instructed teachers to destroy evidence of student surveys on gender identity.

Jeffco Public Schools, the district serving students in the west Denver area, had told teachers to avoid administering surveys about students’ preferred pronouns since there were lawsuits around the issue.

“Please no preferred pronoun/gender identity questionnaire. Do not promise to keep information from parents,” reads a slide the school district sent teachers.

However, the Jefferson County Education Association, which represents teachers in the area, gave teachers different guidance, CBS Colorado reported.

The union sent out an email to teachers telling them, “if you do a questionnaire, please make it a paper and pencil activity – any digital records are more permanent and may be requested under federal law.”

“Make your notations about students and not hold on to the documents,” the union told teachers.

Parents accused the teachers and their union of flouting federal and state laws.

Dozens of teachers are accused of conducting the gender identity surveys after their union sent out guidance about hiding the evidence, said local group Jeffco Kids First.

Denice Crawford, who has three children in the school district, said she felt “deceived, lied to, taken advantage of” when her son came home with a survey asking about his gender identity.

“I don’t feel I can trust the teachers,” she told CBS Colorado. “This is not political. It’s just they’re breaking the law.”


Initially, Crawford said she felt reassured when the school district emailed all employees before school started and reminded them about restrictions on surveys that ask children about protected information, including that parents must be able to opt out.

School board member Susan Miller said the union has put teachers’ jobs at risk since those that violate the law can lose their licenses.

“The leadership actually provided an avenue to get around the law and basically saying it was OK,” Miller told the outlet. “I want parents to know the district takes this very seriously.”

She urged the teachers union to issue a correction to their guidance, admitting they were “wrong” and must follow the law.

The union’s president, Brooke Williams, did not offer such a correction in a statement she issued, however.

“By allowing students an optional avenue to share their preferred pronouns while maintaining student privacy, we can better ensure that students feel safe, respected, and validated,” Williams said in her statement.

She added that teachers should follow the Jeffco district’s policy requiring teachers not to disclose a student’s gender identity to parents unless the student gives permission or they are legally required to disclose it.

“Transgender and gender nonconforming students have the right to discuss and express their gender identity and expression openly and to decide when, with whom, and how much to share private information,” Williams said.

Transparency around students’ gender identity in schools has become a hot button issue among parents in the last several years. Parents in several states have accused schools of keeping their children’s identities a secret, and some families have even sued their districts over the issue.

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