FOLLOW UP: Superintendent Truitt Responds to Accusations That She’s Trampling on Parents’ Rights

Updated: Feb 23

Truitt’s story about the state changing digital school records goes from preposterous to bizarre, but her disregard for parental rights remains the same.

By: Staff

Two days after confirming with Education First Alliance (EFA) that the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) removed biological sex data from school records, the Superintendent denies the claim. She now says the info has merely been erased for school employees, and that special administrators “choose who can view a student’s sex & who cannot.”

But the sex data has, in fact, been erased on parent and teacher records until they ask for, and receive, permission to view the data from the higher-ups.

Bliar Rhodes, DPI Communications Director

On Monday, we reported that changes Superintendent Truitt has made are more than just software updates. For teachers and parents, it will erase the identity of children in the state school record system. It will allow children to choose their own names and sexes without the input or permission of parents — something that’s happening with indreasing frequency.

Blair Rhodes, the Superintendent’s press secretary, took to Twitter Tuesday to accuse EFA of misrepresenting the implications for public school families because of DPI’s change to PowerSchool, a management system that tracks student data.

Here is our point-by-point response to Ms. Rhodes Superintendent Truitt:

Rhodes: “NCDPI is *not* allowing children to “change genders without parental consent.” This assertion is ludicrous & wholly inaccurate.”

EFA Response: By erasing documentation of a child’s biological sex in the classroom, as well as allowing them to use the name they prefer instead of their legal name without parental permission, DPI creates the conditions for children to change their identities as often as they would like without their parents’ knowledge.

This change may also make it easier for teachers to groom students into changing their ‘gender.’ Think the notion is hyperbole? Take a look at this classroom exerice given by a kindergarten teacher in Moore County:

Now see the lesson given to high school children attending the Governors School, an institution run by the DPI itself:

In California, New York, and Texas parents have gone public with their allegations that school officials groomed their children to change their identities behind their backs. Parents of a Florida elementary school girl are suing the school after their daughter attempted to commit suicide following the school’s efforts to force her to transition to a boy.

Rhodes: “The recent system-wide update to the student information system (PowerSchool) now allows for school leadership to choose who can view a student’s sex & who cannot.”

EFA Response: In accordance with this new policy, parents should determine who sees their child’s biological sex, and they should know who is not entrusted to handle that data, and why. As of now, parents report that they cannot see the biological sex of their own children through PowerSchool, which may violate federal law.

If Ms. Rhodes is correct, why did administrators such as principals, counselors, and assistant principals not receive notification of changes in PowerSchool before they occurred? Why were they not trained on how to socialize these changes within the school?

The way DPI, and by extension ‘school leaders,’ are approaching viewing biological sex as carefully as, say, the nuclear football is deeply concerning.

Rhodes: “This update was made as a result of federal guidance & ongoing litigation around Title IX.”

EFA Response: Ms. Rhodes provided us the federal guidance the DPI relied upon before implementing this policy and nowhere does it suggest erasing students’ biological sex from official school records. It states that the office of civil rights will consider claims related to sexual orientation and gender identity as sex discrimination, and investigate accordingly.

Following Title IX is not only a North Carolina issue, it is an issue that every school in every state would have to follow. So far, we have not heard of any other states’ parents, teachers, or school administrators dealing with other states who are now hiding the biological sex of students.

It appears now that no other state Superintendent in the country arrived at the same conclusion as Truitt after evaluating the same federal memo. And we have searched through all public compliance updates from PowerSchool — a company based in California that serves thousands of school districts, and we did not find mention of erasing biological sex to fulfill a federal mandate.

Rhodes: “Email notices were sent to the field about this system-wide update.”

EFA Response: The email that DPI allegedly sent out to “the field” was hardly a handy guide on the changes that were to be made to PowerSchool:

Copy of DPI’s PowerSchool field alert

Even if “the field” of tech support was alerted to changes, school board members, teachers, counselors, principals, and teachers were not. Dozens of school officials told us the same thing: The DPI suddenly and without notice removed the biological sex inputs from PowerSchool.

Teachers and principals, the key end-users of PowerSchool, did not receive any communication, training, or input before DPI implemented the policy.

Most importantly, parents were never consulted or informed about this change, although they should have been. Policies that affect how children are educated and treated in the classroom should be disclosed to parents before they happen.

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Education First Alliance NC

Education First Alliance NC

Education First Alliance web magazine featuring the education & culture news of North Carolina www.edfirstnc.org