However, the guidance and policy book also outlines responses that appear to show skepticism towards families that might not support a student's self-identification as "transgender, non-binary and gender-expansive."
"Disclosing a student's personal information such as gender identity or sexual orientation can pose imminent safety risks, such as losing family support and housing," the book said. All staff correspondence and communication to families regarding students must use their names that are recorded in school district systems "unless the student has specifically given permission to do otherwise."
"This might involve using the student's affirmed name and pronouns in the school setting, and their legal name and pronouns with family," the guidance and policy book said. If a student insists on "maintaining privacy from their family," then student services staff "shall discuss with the student contingency plans in the event that their privacy is compromised."
"Students will be called by their affirmed name and pronouns regardless of parent/guardian permission to change their name and gender," said the book.
Defenders of the guidance include attorneys representing three Madison high school student groups focused on gender and sexuality.
The plaintiffs submitted an expert affidavit challenging gender transition in minors.
The affidavit was by Dr. Stephen B. Levine, a clinical professor of psychiatry at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and a distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association with specialties in sexuality and therapies for sexual problems.
Levine said "therapy for young children that encourages transition cannot be considered to be neutral, but instead is an experimental procedure that has a high likelihood of changing the life path of the child, with highly unpredictable effects on mental and physical health, suicidality, and life expectancy. Claims that a civil right is at stake do not change the fact that what is proposed is a social and medical experiment."
Such experimentation must follow appropriate ethics, and involvement of one or both parents in the large majority of cases is "essential" for responsible, effective and ethical diagnosis and treatment of those who may be suffering from gender dysphoria or a related condition, he said.
His affidavit said there are "widely varying views" among experts about the causes and appropriate therapeutic responses to gender dysphoria in children. A majority of children with gender dysphoria will outgrow it by puberty or adulthood, and it is not known how to distinguish children whose condition persists from those who do not. Some recent studies suggest that actively affirming transgender identity in young children will "substantially reduce" the number of children who later cease to self-identify as transgender, possibly increasing the number of people who suffer "the multiple long-term physical, mental, and social limitations" of those who live as transgender, the affidavit said.
The number of plaintiffs challenging the policy has dropped from 14 to six as parents have moved out of the school district or have pulled children from its schools.
(Story continues below)
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