The Jefferson County Education Association (JCEA), a teachers’ union in Colorado with over 5,300 members, has recently been criticized for advising its educators to destroy evidence of gender identity questionnaires given to students. This advice was reportedly outlined in an email sent by the union to its members, as reported by KCNC-TV.
The JCEA, which is affiliated with the Colorado Education Association and the National Education Association, instructed its teachers to avoid leaving any digital traces of the gender identity questionnaires. In the email, the union wrote, “If you do a questionnaire, please make it a paper and pencil activity – any digital records are more permanent and may be requested under federal law.” The union also recommended that teachers make notes about students but not hold on to the documents.
This situation came to light when parents with Jeffco Kids First, a parental rights group, learned that dozens of teachers in the district asked students to complete a survey about their gender identity. One parent, Denice Crawford, expressed her shock and disappointment, particularly since the district had previously informed parents that federal law prohibited such questionnaires unless parents were given the option to opt out. She stated, “Deceived, lied to, taken advantage of,” when asked how she felt when her son brought home a survey asking about his gender identity. “I don’t feel I can trust the teachers.”
Crawford further emphasized, “This is not political. It’s just they’re breaking the law.” Her sentiments were echoed by school board member Susan Miller, who said, “The leadership actually provided an avenue to get around the law and basically saying it was OK.” Miller urged the union to issue a correction and uphold the law.
Responding to the controversy, JCEA president Brooke Williams stated that the issue has become politicized. She defended the union’s stance by saying, “By allowing students an optional avenue to share their preferred pronouns while maintaining student privacy, we can better ensure that students feel safe, respected, and validated.” She added that the union encourages educators to follow Jeffco’s district policy, which protects the privacy rights of transgender and gender nonconforming students