Updated: Mar 13, 2022
Legal expert disputes the Superintendent's claim that the Biden Administration forced new changes to PowerSchool.
By: Sloan Rachmuth
For days, the Superintendent has spinned excuses for changing PowerSchool in a way that hides student biological sex info from school staff. Parents, teachers, data managers, and members of the State Board of Education were not informed of the changes made this month.
Mostly Truitt blames federal guidance on Title IX, which prevents schools from discriminating against students because of their gender identity or sexual preferences.
To understand the Superintendent's reasoning, we asked civil rights attorney Joel Thornton from the Child & Parental Rights Campaign to weigh in:
It does beg the question, why would anyone be denied access to the gender of a child? That is fairly a benign bit of information. That question thus calls into question why they would think this is important.
As to the legal claims by the NCDPI and the office of the Superintendent I have this to say. There is nothing in TitleIX as it has currently been interpreted by the courts around the country that agrees with their statement that gender identity is included in the title. In fact, in Bostock it was stated that this does not apply to public schools because those facts are not before the Court. The Bostock decision was about employment law requirements under Title VII. This decision by the Biden DOE and DOJ is a stretch that I believe will be righted in the coming terms of the Supreme Court.
Question: Why hasn't the Superintendent prohibited these Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) classroom exercises if the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) is concerned about the misuse of student data?
Another Question: Is Superintendent Truitt planning to ban the invasive student surveys that the DPI now requires all schools to conduct? Take a look at these school surveys from across the state:
In response to Truitt's plan to change the PowerSchool protocol, attorney Joel Thornton said:
“I believe these types of actions are nothing more than a smoke screen to change the culture without changing the law and thus taking rights away from parents.”
Thornton might have a point here.
Last March, local LGBTQ groups cheered when the Superintendent changed the legal name field in PowerSchool. Today, the radical lobby celebrated another victory based on this recent change,
Look at the changes to PowerSchool the Campaign for Southern Equality petitioned the former superintendent for:
Sets up documents, lists, online systems, and reports to use the ‘Name’ field unless the document legally requires the Legal Name;
Creates a ‘Legal Gender’ field separate from the ‘Gender’ field and uses the ‘Gender’ field to list gender in all visible lists and reports, unless legally required otherwise;
Updating PowerSchool in such a way as to prevent teachers from viewing biological sex meets these demands perfectly. Even though Truitt conceded to the LGBTQ lobby last March, its leaders wanted more. Rebby Kern, Equality NC Director of Education Policy, said in a statement:
“We must have information systems which accurately reflect the names, gender identities and needs of our most vulnerable student populations without special request. We can no longer intentionally and unintentionally misgender, misname and cause harm to transgender, nonbinary and gender-nonconforming youth. This PowerSchool update is one small piece of the overall support necessary for transgender students to thrive and grow in their learning environments."
DO THE RIGHT THING
The changes to PowerSchool will undoubtedly affect school culture in all 115 school districts, regardless of what's driving them. Superintendent Truitt's failure to inform parents and teachers of these changes is inexcusable.
EFA's President Sloan Rachmuth sounded off about the direction Superintendent Truitt is taking the State's public education system.