WINNING: Pronouns gone in Granite District CANVAS Online System

Big win for parents! Granite School District’s Canvas settings no longer allow the selection of pronouns in a student’s personal profile. 

The problem was first reported by a concerned parent earlier this week. After calls to the district by parents and social media exposure of the issue, it looks as if a student’s pronoun information is no longer selectable through the CANVAS web-based instructional tool.

In communicating with the district and Granite School Board members, more than one parent was told that because CANVAS was a “state-contracted” software system that Granite had no say in the options offered. This information is not accurate — other districts, including Davis, Jordan, and Alpine do not offer students a way to select their pronouns through CANVAS. 

Bottom line is that schools and educators can’t solicit this type of information from a child without a parent’s informed consent and knowledge. 

Any data collected during the course of the year from Granite School District through CANVAS regarding a student’s pronouns should now be destroyed. The data was collected illegally and cannot remain in the system in any way, shape, or form.

The screenshot you’ll see below demonstrates why — when a teacher would send out an email to more than one student, a student’s pronouns would appear right next to his or her name. 

Under Federal FERPA (the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) law, a parent has the “right to seek amendment or correction of their child’s educational records that a parent believes to be…in violation of the child’s rights of privacy.”

Under Federal PPRA (the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment) law, parents rights regarding personal information of their students is also established.

PPRA governs the administration to students of a survey, analysis, or evaluation that concerns one or more of the following eight protected areas:

political affiliations or beliefs of the student or the student’s parent;

mental or psychological problems of the student or the student’s family;

sex behavior or attitudes;

illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating, or demeaning behavior;

critical appraisals of other individuals with whom respondents have close family relationships;

legally recognized privileged or analogous relationships, such as those of lawyers, physicians, and ministers;

religious practices, affiliations, or beliefs of the student or student’s parent;

or income (other than that required by law to determine eligibility for participation in a program or for receiving financial assistance under such program).

PPRA also concerns marketing surveys and other areas of student privacy, parental access to information, and the administration of certain physical examinations to minors.

The rights under PPRA transfer from the parents to a student who is 18 years old or an emancipated minor under state law.

Granite School District did the wrong thing by allowing solitication of unauthorized student information through CANVAS in the first place. It’s good that the pronoun information is no longer directly selectable, but remember, this only happened because parents noticed and spoke out.