Mum Reported For Asking Teachers Not To Call Daughter A Boy

A mother was reported to social services after she asked teachers not to call her daughter a boy. Patricia Chalmers found a note in her daughter Esme’s schoolbag from one of her teachers.

The note was addressed to Lex Chalmers.

Jill Foster picked up the story for The Mail Online:

Like many parents on a Sunday evening, Patricia Chalmers was busy checking for unwashed sports kit in her 14-year-old daughter’s school bag when she discovered something rather perplexing.

Crumpled up inside was a letter from her teacher regarding a project. While the contents made sense, Patricia was confused by the name — it was addressed to Lex Chalmers. Her daughter’s name is Esme.

‘Instinctively, I suspected something was wrong but I waited until next morning before I phoned the school,’ says Patricia, a 49-year-old mother-of-two from Swindon.

‘Esme had been dressing differently for months, no longer wearing the skirts or dresses she’d loved when she was younger and was instead wearing baggy hoodies and jeans. She’d chopped off her long hair into a short crop. I was absolutely fine with it. She’s a teenager. She can dress how she wants.

‘But I’d also discovered she was ordering chest binders (which flatten the breasts) and I was worried she’d hurt herself.

‘I’d read up on gender identity and reassured her she could be as gender non-conforming as she wanted, but I wasn’t going to let her harm her body. She was still developing. So, I wondered if the change of name was connected to this.’

When she phoned her daughter’s co-educational state secondary school, the receptionist claimed the name change ‘must be a mistake’.

But Patricia wanted to be sure and sent an email. ‘I wanted to clarify in writing that they definitely didn’t use a different name for my daughter and that she should be referred to as Esme,’ she says.

‘They took a day to respond but eventually replied saying that in keeping with their Equality, Inclusion and Diversity policy, they had “socially transitioned” [when you refer to someone by different names and pronouns to match their gender identity] my daughter and were referring to her with the gender-neutral name Lex and they/them pronouns.

‘I burst into tears. Esme had not mentioned anything to me, but I knew social transition could harm her mental health. She is on the autistic spectrum and has suffered with anxiety and depression.

‘Changing her identity to one thing at school and being something else at home could make things even more difficult for her. I couldn’t believe the school had done this behind my back. How dare they? I was livid.’

Most parents will find it shocking that a teacher would adopt a child’s changed identity without parental consent or knowledge.

After all, a school not only has a duty of care to educate pupils but to keep them safe and protect their wellbeing.

Teachers are advised to ask for parental permission before they administer medication or even apply sun cream….

Tanya Carter, spokeswoman for Safe Schools Alliance, agrees. ‘This is an increasing issue with schools acting as if they have the right to strip parents of parental responsibility but they don’t — only courts do,’ she says.

‘The misapprehension that schools should keep secrets from parents is so entrenched that there is now even a check box school management system to say whether a child’s preferred pronouns should only be used in schools. But the UK government is clear that part of parental responsibility is “naming the child and agreeing to any change of name”.’

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