UPDATED January 8 with a comment from Anna ISD.

A North Texas school district has been caught hiding vital information from parents regarding the mental health issues of students who believe they are “transgender.”

Government watchdog group Citizens Defending Freedom (CDF) said Tuesday that they began investigating Anna Independent School District after a mother alleged a violation of her parental rights.

The investigation exposed “a significant period during which her child identified and dressed as the opposite biological sex without parental knowledge.”

Anna ISD officials failed to communicate these changes to the parents and neglected to inform them about the school’s use of opposite sex pronouns and gender identity naming conventions.

“This lack of transparency, coupled with the failure to seek parental consent for pronoun usage, name changes, and the concealment of mental health issues, has prompted legal action by parents nationwide,” said CDF-Collin County spokesman Dan Thomas.

CDF is a national non-profit that organizes county-level chapters to help citizens defend their faith and freedom and fight for transparency in local government.

Using public information requests, CDF volunteers found that Anna ISD had adopted a practice of maintaining both a “permanent record” that includes the student’s birth name and assigned sex and a “non-permanent record” that reflects a name change typically associated with a gender identity transition.

CDF’s investigation revealed that Anna ISD implemented the non-permanent record practice for pronouns and names—without parental notice or consent—on August 16, 2022.

A week earlier, on August 11, Anna ISD leadership had reviewed the 2022 version of the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) legal guidance on “transgender” students. TASB is a taxpayer-funded lobbying group for government school officials that provides products and services including legal advice.

“The CDF investigation indicates that school districts, following TASB’s guidance on Legal Issues Related to Transgender Students, are undermining parental rights, potentially violating Texas law when intentionally withholding information,” the group said.

According to CDF, Anna ISD’s “transgender” policy violates parental rights under Texas Education Code Section 26.008(a), granting parents comprehensive information on their child’s school activities, and Section 26.004(b), providing access to written records, including counseling and psychological records.

CDF is urging all Texas parents to seek clarity on their local school district policies regarding permanent and non-permanent records, “especially those related to the concealment of gender identity and other mental health issues that may go undisclosed.”

Anna ISD was on winter break when this story broke but responded to Texas Scorecard’s request for comment on January 8: “Any and all forms dealing with (non-permanent record) student gender and/or name change require parent approval and signature.  Anna ISD follows all guidelines set by the Texas Commissioner of Education, TASB, and legal counsel.”

Erin Anderson

Erin Anderson is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard, reporting on state and local issues, events, and government actions that impact people in communities throughout Texas and the DFW Metroplex. A native Texan, Erin grew up in the Houston area and now lives in Collin County.