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Most U.S. voters support 'parental consent' in school gender identity policies, study shows

Classroom (File/Photo)
Classroom (File/Photo)
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The majority of Americans believe public schools should include parents in conversations regarding their children's gender identity, a new poll shows.

Parents across the United States have confronted local school boards over gender identity policies, arguing that they are the "number one stakeholders" when it comes to their children. While noting that a child's gender identity is a crucial component of their mental health, they say any school open to "keeping parents in the dark" is not only "deceptive," but in clear violation of parents' constitutional rights.

In a poll released Tuesday, national advocacy group Parents Defending Education (PDE) and market research company CRC Research surveyed 1,600 registered voters on how they believe public school districts should handle students' gender transitions. The results show an overwhelming support for parental rights.

Seventy-four percent of registered voters believe that schools should not be able to help students "change their gender identity" without parental consent. Nearly the same number feel those sentiments should be explicitly enforced, as legislation requiring schools to obtain that consent is supported by 75% of registered voters.

School districts across the country have gotten over their skis by drafting and implementing policies that blatantly exclude parents from important decisions about their child’s education," PDE Vice President Caroline Moore said. "Our polling shows, unequivocally, that parents should be the principal decision makers for the education of their children."

The notion that parents are the "principal decision makers" of their children's education is seemingly shared across racial groups, income levels and political party affiliations. More than half of white, Hispanic and Asian voters make up that 75%, with the most support stemming from Black voters at 76%.

While all income ranges surveyed by PDE and CRC back legislation requiring parental consent before helping a student "change their identity," the greatest support was seen from families with a combined income of $125,000.

The numbers speak for themselves: opposition to parental exclusion policies spans racial, political, and socioeconomic lines," PDE President and Founder Nicole Neily said. "These immoral policies undermine the relationship between parent and child – and, to add insult to injury, is being underwritten with our own tax dollars through the public school system."

Voters seem to agree that parents' relationships with their children are being undermined, as 68% disagreed with the statement "parents are not entitled to know their kids’ identities." More than half also disagree that "children who identify as transgender won’t be accepted or loved by their parents."

Public school policies that hide identity and gender issues from parents and legal guardians are an assault to parents’ rights," PDE Director of Community Engagement Mailyn Salabarria said. "Education officials at all levels and policymakers should take note: we are the parents, we all want the best for our children, and we are not going anywhere anytime soon."
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