Last Friday, Robinson Elementary School in Raytown, Missouri sent a letter home to parents announcing that a male student known as Adam had returned to school as a female named Jasmine.
According to KMBC.com, the letter — which was sent out at Jasmine’s parents’ request — “asked students and parents to treat everyone at school as they would want to be treated.”
"This is not about who you want to be. This is what you are," said Caroline Gibbs, of the Transgender Institute. "This is a genetic, medical condition, hardwired. One is born with it."
"Gender identity is separate from sexual orientation," said Jessica Farmer, a counselor who works with gay and transgender youth. "They are two separate things. So if you ask a young person if they're male or female, they'll usually have an answer."
Farmer said very young people and their families who deal with these issues at an early age usually have fewer problems adjusting than those who deal with them later on.
Vincent Paolo Villano, Director of Communications for the National Center for Transgender Equality said that the NCTE had an internal conversation about whether the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act meant to protect student educational records applies in this case or whether the letter revealed too many identifying characteristics about the youth.
Furthermore, if the school’s letter meant to make the community aware of Jasmine’s transition as a medical condition, Villano doubted that the school’s action in this case mirrored how it would handle other medical issues, like if a kid had to stay home with chicken pox.
But acknowledging that the school may have sent the letter as a way to raise awareness and forestall bullying, Villano said, “Whenever schools and teachers take action to feel affirm a student’s identity and help them feel good about themselves, that’s to be applauded.”
The district had no additional comment.