Northbridge Public Schools Let Students Change Name, Gender, Pronouns Without Parents Knowing

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If a minor wants to change gender and be known as a different gender in school, should the school district let the student’s parents know?

That’s not the policy in the Northbridge Public School system, a public records request filed by NewBostonPost revealed.

If a student wants to change gender at school, that’s allowed. The school district will allow the student to identify as a different gender, use a different name, and change personal pronouns, if that’s what the student wants to do.

The Names/Pronouns policy in the school’s Non-Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity Policy says:


A student has the right to choose a name and pronoun appropriate to the student’s gender identity, regardless of the student’s assigned birth sex and name that appears on the student’s birth certificate. Schools should accurately record and use the student’s chosen name and pronouns that are consistent with the student’s gender identity. A court order is not required to update student records to reflect changes in a student’s name and gender markers. Schools will work with a student (and the parents/guardians of the student if they are involved), or in the case of a younger student with the student and the student’s parents/guardians, to develop a plan for communicating any name and pronoun change within the school. Before communicating with parents or guardians, staff should ascertain from the student whether the parents or guardians are aware of the student’s gender identity and, if not, whether the student has concerns about safety or lack of acceptance. 


The policy does not state how old a “younger student” must be in order for that student’s parents to be involved as a requirement.

Additionally, the school district’s pronoun policy says that a student can have no personal pronouns at all, if that’s what the student wants:


Preferred Gender Pronouns:  The pronoun a person prefers to have used when referred to in conversation (i.e., a person with traditionally male gender identity likely prefers “he,” “him,” and “his”). Please note that among other choices students may choose to be referred to as “they,” “ze,” or no pronouns.


Massachusetts Family Institute communications director Mary Ellen Siegler told NewBostonPost that a child wanting to change gender is an issue that always should always require parental involvement.

“This is an incredibly dangerous policy that harms children and divides families,” Siegler wrote. “The fact that educators are teaching young students it is possible for them to change their sex, a scientific impossibility, should be alarming enough, but even more disturbing is the fact that those same educators are actively hiding students’ important mental health information from their parents. Schools are not mental health facilities. Aiding a child to persist in gender confusion can set them up for future bodily damage that is irrevocable. Separating a struggling child from the support and guidance of their parents is unconscionable. These unethical polices in schools must be rescinded immediately.”

The policy was approved 4-0 during a Northbridge School Committee meeting on August 23, 2016.

Northbridge Public Schools superintendent Amy McKinstry could not be reached for comment by telephone or email last week or earlier this week.

Members of the Northbridge School Committee could not immediately be reached for comment earlier this week.

Northbridge is a town of about 16,000 people 11 miles southeast of Worcester. The public school system operates one elementary school (prekindergarten through fifth grade), a middle school (grades 6 through 8), and a high school (grades 9 through 12). The school district serves a little less than 2,000 students.

The school district’s complete response to NewBostonPost’s public records request is available below:

Northbridge Public Records Request


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