EXCLUSIVE — The University of California, San Francisco‘s Benioff Children’s Hospital has provided trainings to the staff of the San Francisco Unified School District for at least four years on responding to transgender students and their parents’ concerns, new internal documents shows.
According to internal emails and documents obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request by the parent activist group Parents Defending Education and shared with the Washington Examiner, the children’s hospital provided a training to the district’s social workers in November 2018 that included several case study scenarios on gender-dysphoric students.
The trainings were developed by the Benioff Children’s Hospital’s Child and Adolescent Gender Center, which provides a laundry list of services to “transgender, nonbinary and gender-diverse children and adolescents” and accepts patients as young as 3 years old.
The center says that for patients who have not yet reached puberty, it provides “care focuse[d] strictly on social and emotional development.” Once the child has reached the onset of puberty, the center provides puberty-blocking drugs and, later, cross-sex hormones.
In one of the scenarios provided in a document titled “Case Examples for UCSF Gender Affirmative Model,” an eighth grade student who is a biological girl has transitioned to a male identity in social settings but has not taken any cross-sex hormones or puberty blockers. The scenario asks the social workers what to do if the child says, “I need testosterone or I will die.”
“What role can the school take in supporting mom and exploring medical options? How many times is too many times to call mom about student’s comments about depression and testosterone?” the training asks.
In another training given to SFUSD staff in February 2019 and titled “Gender Affirmative Care With Youth,” the school district’s staff were told that believing in only two genders was considered an “assumption” and that the goal of transgender care is to “interrupt the path of preventable distress/dysphoria that leads to poor mental health outcomes,” which “may or may not involve medical steps.”
The training said its goals were to “increase awareness and understanding of gender identity, gender expression and gender wellness” as well as to “increase awareness of Gender Affirmative Care Model with special attention to trauma, adolescent development and systems approaches.”
But the cooperation between the two entities was not limited to trainings. In August 2020, a staffer at the hospital’s child gender center asked a district staff member how the school district’s counselors are “permitted to see kids without parental consent for mental health treatment.”
Erika Sanzi, the director of outreach for Parents Defending Education, told the Washington Examiner that “it is a massive red flag when a nearby children’s hospital is collaborating with a school district to role-play scenarios based in gender ideology and secure mental health counseling for minors without parental consent.
“By communicating informally over email as they did here, everyone involved avoids the transparency and scrutiny that comes with a public meeting,” Sanzi continued. “This seems like a deliberate attempt to hide information from parents and the public.”
UCSF and SFUSD did not respond to a request for comment.