But how do you discourage kids from bullying a trans classmate--or encourage those same kids' parents to be good examples of tolerance and honesty for their kids--without "outing" the classmate in question?
That's a question a school district in Missouri had to answer when someone who was born a boy was returning to school as a girl. School and district officials said they were interested in ensuring the child's safety and ability to learn.
Officials in Raytown sent a letter to parents informing them about the transgender child. Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), schools are not allowed to release most information about a child without the consent of the child's parents. Exempt from this ban are "directory" information, such as a student's name, address, phone number and date of birth, which can be released without consent. However, the school or district must provide ample warning of the release to allow the parent(s) enough time to request that the information not be released.
However, as you can imagine, there's "gray area" in the law. While a student's name may fall under the category of "directory" information, it's not clear whether the student's gender--which, some would argue, is part of a student's medical history--also falls into that category.