Sunday, May 11, 2008

Philadelphia School Holds Third-Grade Transgender Counseling Sessions

Anger at 1-Day notice School Gave Parents

A Pennsylvania elementary school has confirmed its membership in the "Brave New Liberal Schools" club by holding counseling sessions with 100 3rd-grade students to announce that one of the boys would soon start showing up at school in girls' clothing and taking a female name.

Counselors will ask the 3rd-graders to accept the boy as a girl and not to make childish remarks that may be unkind.
The exercise in "social transition" was initiated by the boy's parents who approached the administration at Chatham Park Elementary School in Haverford Township asking that the school help in having their child's female identity find acceptance among his peers. After consulting experts on transgender children, the Haverford School District sent letters to parents advising them the school guidance counselor would meet with their children, reported the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Some of the parented contacted the principal asking him to excuse their children that day, while others turned to one of the few things that is proved to modify the behavior of brave new educators: mass parental anger.

"Why is the school introducing this subject to 8- and 9-year-olds?" wrote an angry parent who started a discussion on the Haverford Township's blog site. "Why were we not notified sooner. We received the letter today, the discussion at school is tomorrow."

Good question.

One DBKP reader, pat, makes a pertinent observation, "This is creepy."

Good point.

In the letter to parents, Chatham Park principal Daniel Marsella assured parents the counseling would use "developmentally appropriate language" to explain "how we need to help this student make a social transition in school."

"This is something that was going to come out," said Mary Beth Lauer, district director of community relations. "Isn't it better to be proactive, and let people know what is happening and how we're dealing with it?"

Good Lord.

Apparently, "proactive" means the old trick of not notifying parents until the "counseling sessions" were practically a fait accompli.

A pediatric endocrinologist at the renowned Boston Children's Hospital has launched a new program to drug transgender children to delay puberty so they can decide at a later age whether they want a male or a female body.

Good idea.

What actions would the parents of the boy in question take if the boy had announced that he had decided to marry one of his classmates? What about if he'd announced that he'd decided to become a fireman or president when he got older?
Paul McHugh, a psychiatrist and professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, was critical of the school's handing of the issue.

"They do not have a right to stop the child, but it's different when they gather everyone around and say, 'Johnnie is Jeanie," he said.

McHugh, who has studied sexual reassignment surgery for 30 years, particularly in the 1970s when Hopkins was a leader in the field, said society should not support decisions of immature persons.

The obvious question is one that educators seldom ask: "Where does it stop?" What if the parents of another boy decides that there's an animal-lover inside of him trying to get out? Does the school then "counsel" his classmates on bestiality and their need to refrain from unkind remarks?

Parents are supposed to guide their children in age-appropriate decisions. Although any number of "lifestyle advocates" might disagree, transgender decisions might be a bit much for an eight-year-old.

If the boy reaches the age of adulthood and makes the decision, then the parents can get behind his decision as much or as little as they'd choose.

Then, the school wouldn't have to hold "counseling sessions" or send home notes from school announcing it.

And, finally, the parents of one boy wouldn't be setting the agenda for the other 100 students--a right rightly reserved to those parents of the other children.

by Mondoreb
* brendangregg
* 3rd-graders asked to help classmate in gender change - Bigger, Better!.
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