Colorado Teacher Disciplined for Not Affirming Transgender Student’s Identity

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File

A high school teacher in Jefferson County (Jeffco), Colorado, was disciplined for failing to affirm a student’s transgender identity. This is the latest in a long line of stories detailing how school districts are imposing far-leftist ideology in their K-12 classrooms.

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The teacher, who decided to remain anonymous to avoid reprisals, told RedState that last year, he “was asked by a freshman student via email (Covid environment) on the last day of class if there was an opportunity to pass my class.” The school has extended semester options that a failing student can use to earn a passing grade.

The student informed the teacher that “she was going under a new name & gender but not telling her parents.” The educator gave the student a passing grade and also “provided an internet link to information about young people regretting their transition.”

The teacher told RedState why he sent the link and what happened afterward:

My motive was to protect myself if the parents found out I knew about this new identity and did not tell them. The student reported me and I was formally disciplined (the only time in 15 years in the district). I contacted the mother as part of a formal grievance, and she was supportive of my actions (they have since moved out of Colorado).

The Jefferson County Education Association (JCEA) concluded that the teacher had violated district policy. It concluded that “only ‘gender affirming’ information can be discussed with students, and referring to the transgender movement as a ‘trend’ was prohibited language.”

As a result, JCEA subjected the teacher to a formal disciplinary process. The teacher said: “Mandatory ‘gender sensitivity’ training was required as well, which included gender affirming testimonials of elementary students.”

As part of his punishment, the educator was compelled to watch videos in which young transgender children promote their decision to transition to the opposite gender. One of the videos includes a seven-minute lecture from Joel Baum, Senior Director for Professional Development at Gender Spectrum, in which he teaches about how schools can become more “welcoming for students of all genders.” Gender Spectrum is an organization that works with schools to promote progressive gender ideology.

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The teacher told RedState that the school reinforces progressive ideology on gender identity on a routine basis. It has “permanent posters in the common areas” of the school that cover topics like “trans flags” and “proper pronoun usage.” The school encourages educators to post a “safe space” sign, with a “rainbow triangle at the entrance of their classrooms.”

Jeffco Public Schools’ policy regarding transgenderism is similar to what is seen in states like Wisconsin, California, Virginia, and others. Its Board of Education guidelines, are ostensibly intended to “address the needs of students who are transgender and gender nonconforming and clarify how state law should be implemented in situation where questions may arise about how to protect the legal rights and safety of such students.”

The guidelines suggest that educators “ask privately at the beginning of the year how a student might want to be addressed in class” to ensure they are fostering an inclusive environment. “Always use the student’s preferred name whether the name is legally changed or not, not unlike the common practice of using a nickname by which others refer to the student rather than their legal name,” the document reads. “The intentional or persistent refusal to respect a student’s gender identity (intentionally using a name or pronoun that does not correspond to the student’s gender identity) is a violation of these Guidelines.”

The guidelines also instruct teachers not to inform parents if a student expresses a desire to transition:

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School staff shall not disclose information that may reveal a student’s transgender status to others, including parents and other school staff, unless legally required to do so or unless the student has authorized such disclosure.

The district also instructs teachers to use the student’s legal name and pronouns related to their “gender assigned at birth” when contacting parents.

Jeffco Public Schools include 155 K-12 learning institutions, 17 of which are high schools. It has 69,000 students enrolled for the 2021-2022 school year.

This is the latest in a long line of stories detailing how districts are presenting progressive ideology on race, gender, and sexuality to K-12 children. Here is a database of each news story covering the matter over the past two years.

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