Federal appeals court rules school district can continue to keep student gender transitions from parents

A federal appeals court has ruled that a Maryland school district may continue to hide the gender transitions of students from their parents. The ruling on Monday said the plaintiffs did not have standing to bring the case, because they had not claimed their children were transgender.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit dismissed the case in a 2 to 1 ruling, which was brought by three parents of students at Montgomery County Public Schools over the district’s “gender support plan.” The guidelines for transgender-identifying students adopted by the Montgomery County Board of Education in 2020-2021, address a student’s identified name, pronouns, athletics, extracurricular activities, locker rooms, bathrooms, “safe spaces, safe zones, and other safety supports.”

The plaintiffs in this case called the policy in question the “Parental Preclusion Policy”, which their lawyers at the National Legal Foundation claimed was a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The guidelines state that “Prior to reaching out to the parent/guardian of a student, the principal or a designated staff member should speak to the student in order to determine the level or support they receive or expect to receive from home.”


U.S. Circuit Judge A. Marvin Quattlebaum stated that the parents’ opposition against the guidelines did not give them standing to bring the case. It was a “policy dispute” since they didn’t claim their children had their own gender support plans.

The court stated that “the parents have not alleged facts that their children are transgender, have gender support plans or are even struggling to understand gender identity” in its decision. The parents have not claimed that Montgomery County Public Schools have information about their child that is being withheld, or that information may be withheld at a later date.

The decision said that even though the court stated they did not have the authority to address objections from parents to the guidelines, “that does not mean they are invalid”. “In fact, their objections may be quite convincing,” it added.