North Dakota School District Will Hide Students’ Gender Identities

A North Dakota school district will hide the gender identities of students from their parents despite a state law prohibiting such policies.

“We will not openly out any student because of one law if we know that that’s going to cause harm to that child,” Fargo Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Rupak Gandhi, backed in the decision by the school board, said.

North Dakota Gov. Dough Burgum (R) signed a bill in May 2023 banning schools from withholding or concealing “information about a student’s transgender status from the student’s parent or legal guardian.”

Some parents expressed their frustration at a recent school board meeting regarding the district’s decision.

“The way I see it, the way I heard it is that you want to protect kids from their parents,” one father said. “Instead of encouraging everyone to talk more, you are suppressing talk.”

Another parent accused the school board members of trying to remove authority from parents.

“I really urge you all to pay attention to what we’re setting as a precedent,” the mother said. “Whose kids are these? Do they belong to you as a school board? Do they belong to Fargo Public Schools? Or is each child’s parent ultimately the decision-maker in their family over what is allowed and what is safe for that child?”

Opponents of North Dakota’s law said revealing a student’s gender identity to their parents might create dangerous confrontations.

Gandhi cited statistics released by The Trevor Project, an LGBTQ advocacy group, regarding the number of suicides that occur when parents find out about their children’s “gender identity.”

According to the statistics, suicide is the second leading cause of death among minors. It is four times likelier to occur among LGBTQ youth, with 45% actively considering suicide in 2022, including over 50% of “transgender” and “non-binary” youth.

“When we see a conflict between federal law and state law, we are going to double down to advocate for our youth,” Gandhi said.

Following Gandhi’s report, several school board members shared their perspectives. All members applauded the superintendent’s message and supported following federal laws instead of state law.

“Thank you for sharing that. Thank you for bearing your soul, ” Board Member Robin Nelson said.