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Press Release Title IX

Schools Urged to Update Parental Notification Policies to Curb Rash of Suicides Among Transgender Students

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Rebecca Hain: 513-479-3335


Schools Urged to Update Parental Notification Policies to Curb Rash of Suicides Among Transgender Students

WASHINGTON / October 10, 2023 – On May 17, transgender student Kalie Nova Dunn left school, walked to the bridge spanning I-293 in Manchester, New Hampshire, and leapt to his untimely death (1). The tragic demise of Nova Dunn, 14 years old, underscored the broader issues of transgenderism in four ways:

Suicide Epidemic: The death of Dunn highlights reports of dramatically increased risk of suicide attempts and deaths among transgender individuals. These are two of many studies:

  • A large study in Denmark found that trans-identified persons had a rate of suicide deaths 3.5 times higher than among the overall population (2).
  • The Trevor Project revealed that one in four Black transgender and nonbinary young people in the U.S. reported a suicide attempt in the past year (3).

Mental Health Causes: Dunn had long been battling serious depression. Research shows most minors referred to gender clinics are teenagers with “no history of gender-related distress before puberty and with at least one psychiatric diagnosis.” (4)

Indeed, the nation’s leading LGBT groups have long recognized the key role of mental health problems. The 2017 report, Talking About Suicide and LGBT Populations, affirmed, “Suicide deaths are almost always the result of multiple overlapping causes, including mental health issues that might not have been recognized or treated.” (5)

False Media Narratives: Several media accounts claimed that Dunn had been a victim of “bullying” and “transphobia.” One headline stated flatly, “Bullied Transgender Youth Dies by Suicide in N.H.” The article went on to claim, “Multiple sources alleged that bullying and transphobia factored into the death of the teen.” (6)

But these “multiple sources” turned out to be members of transgender advocacy groups, not persons with any direct knowledge of the circumstances surrounding Dunn’s death. Indeed, the Washington Blade reporter cautioned readers that he had been “unable to verify any of those claims.”

Parental Secrecy Policies: Currently, 1,045 school districts across the country have policies stating personnel can or should keep a student’s transgender status hidden from parents (7). One of those districts is the Manchester, NH School District. The district’s policy on Transgender and Gender Non-Confirming Students states, “School personnel should not disclose information that may reveal a student’s transgender status or gender nonconforming presentation to others [including parents] unless legally required to do so or unless the student has authorized such disclosure.” (8)

But these policies are being challenged. Last week, a federal judge issued a ruling against a Wisconsin school district that had enacted a parental secrecy policy. Judge Michael Maxwell opined,

“This Court has before it what modern society deems a controversial issue – transgenderism involving minors within our schools… However, this particular case is not about that broad controversial issue. This particular case is simply whether a school district can supplant a parent’s right to control the healthcare and medical decisions for their children. The well-established case law in that regard is clear – Kettle Moraine cannot.” (9)

Given the legal and mortal dangers of depriving gender-confused children of the emotional support of their parents, SAVE urges schools across the nation to review and update their parental notification policies.