The more we learn about the dangers of so-called gender treatments, and the more we discover the lengths to which school officials will go to keep secrets from parents, the more urgent it becomes for lawmakers to act quickly to protect students and families.
Arkansas lawmakers delivered a clear message to parents of K-12 students this week: You have the right to know how your child is being treated in school.
Lawmakers in New Jersey, California, and hundreds of other school districts across the U.S. operating under policies that do the opposite and allow school officials to hide information about children from their parents should prepare to receive an influx of student-transfer requests.
Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Monday signed legislation, the Given Name Act, which says that school officials cannot call a student by a name that does not match the name listed on the student’s birth certificate without a parent’s permission. Likewise, educators cannot address a child by a pronoun that does not match the child’s sex.
The bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Wayne Long, a Republican, explains that a teacher contacted him and said her conscience would not let her “affirm” a student confused about his or her sex. “This single mom was willing to lose her job rather than go against her Christian beliefs,” Long said via email.
That teacher is not alone.
A survey in March commissioned by Parents Defending Education found that 71% of voters favor legislation that requires schools to inform parents when their child wants to “assume” a different “gender” at school. A survey conducted for The Heritage Foundation in 2021 found nearly identical results among a nationally representative sample of parents. (The Daily Signal is the news outlet of The Heritage Foundation.)
And lawmakers are responding.
In Kentucky, officials adopted a proposal earlier this year that said schools “shall not adopt policies or procedures with the intent of keeping any student information confidential from parents,” and state and school personnel cannot require educators to use pronouns that “do not conform to a student’s biological sex” as listed on his or her birth certificate. Utah lawmakers adopted a similar proposal this year, and legislators in Arizona, California, Florida, and Louisiana are currently considering proposals with those provisions.