Whistleblower school counselor doubles down despite accusations of ‘misinformation’

Despite pressure from Rochester Public Schools (RPS), student counselor Christina Barton is standing by her statement that transgender and gender-expansive administrative “guidelines” were being hidden from the public.

Barton recently blew the whistle on the guidelines, stating that she had been “warned” against making them public.

“I’ve consulted with RPS personnel who had warned me against making these guidelines public and that there is a risk of job retaliation up to disciplinary action or termination if I speak to the board or am noncompliant regarding these guidelines,” Barton said during a March school board meeting. “I have also spoken to other staff who are also afraid to speak up for the same reason.”

After sharing her story with Alpha News, the district sent Barton a “non-disciplinary letter” to “clarify” her “work expectations,” claiming that she provided “explicit misinformation” in her interview by stating the guidelines were being hidden.

“…[T]he Administrative Guidelines for Supporting Transgender and Gender-Expansive Students are not being hidden and in fact, have been shared with over 100 district administrators who were told to share it if they needed to [emphasis added],” according to the district’s letter to Barton.

According to the guidelines, “if a parent or guardian requests information [emphasis added] about their child who is under the age of 18, including information about whether the child is transgender or whether their child has asked to use a name, pronouns, restrooms, or locker rooms based on the child’s gender identity rather than sex assigned at birth,” then a staff member “must provide that information.”

“The guidelines state that they only inform parents of their student’s identity ‘if they request it,'” pointed out Barton. “So how would a parent know to request such information if they aren’t aware their child is struggling with gender dysphoria? How would a parent be able to care for and support their student if the school never reached out to them?”

The guidelines have not been publicly discussed by the school board, and a search for them on the district website did not return any results. Under the direction of Superintendent Kent Pekel, the guidelines are to be enforced until the school board “develops and approves a policy and/or procedures to support transgender and gender-expansive students.” That task, according to the guidelines, is planned to be completed during this school year.

“This is not transparent and still leaves parents out of the information,” Barton shared with American Experiment. “Also, according to the district, the guidelines were only shared with administrators — this leaves staff, students, and the community in the dark too. That is the reason I say they are ‘hidden’ guidelines.”

Barton acknowledges that her stepping out and speaking up could “come with a cost” — “I was warned for a reason that there could be retaliation” — but that she “won’t be silenced” because this is “too important.”

“Parents need to be able to support their children if they are struggling,” Barton continued. “A parent-child relationship is crucial to their development, and parents should be engaged by schools in that relationship.”