Republican Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton introduced a bill on Thursday that would prevent schools from aiding and concealing a student’s “gender transition” from parents.
The bill, called the Empower Parents to Protect Their Kids Act, seeks to stop federally funded K-12 schools from facilitating a student’s “gender transition” without parental knowledge.
“Schools should never be allowed to impose radical, harmful ideologies on children — especially without parents’ knowledge and consent,” Cotton said in a news release announcing the legislation.
“My bill will protect students and ensure that parents are in control of their children’s education. Schools must remain institutions of education, not indoctrination camps where minors are manipulated and brainwashed,” he added.
Schools shouldn’t impose radical, harmful ideologies on children—especially without parents’ knowledge and consent. My bill will protect students and ensure that parents are in control of their children’s education.https://t.co/xfhbrTTiEz
— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) October 21, 2021
“Without parental knowledge or consent, schools are facilitating ‘social gender transitions’ by changing the names and pronouns of children in school, or even allowing children to change which sex-segregated facilities they use, such as dormitories for overnight field trips,” the bill reads.
The legislation would require schools to receive parental consent before affirming a student’s “gender transition.”
In addition, schools could not “facilitate, encourage, or coerce students to withhold information from their parents regarding the student’s gender transition or the student’s purported gender identity, where the student’s purported gender identity is incongruous with biological sex.”
The bill would also make it illegal for schools to “pressure or coerce the parents of students, or students themselves, to proceed with any treatment or intervention to affirm the student’s purported gender identity.”
In New Jersey, state policy regarding students’ “gender identity” excludes parental consent.
“A school district shall accept a student’s asserted gender identity; parental consent is not required,” the state’s guidance on transgender students reads.
“Further, a student need not meet any threshold diagnosis or treatment requirements to have his or her gender identity recognized and respected by the district, school or school personnel.
“Nor is a legal or court-ordered name change required. There is no affirmative duty for any school district personnel to notify a student’s parent or guardian of the student’s gender identity or expression.”
A similar policy was enacted in Madison, Wisconsin, before being changed following a lawsuit.
“It should go without saying that school district staff should be honest with parents, especially when it comes to critical matters concerning their children, but we are pleased that the court has issued an order now requiring it,” Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel Roger Brooks said in a statement last year.
“As this case moves forward, we will continue to argue for our clients’ legitimate concern over the Madison Metropolitan School District’s policy of deceiving parents and excluding them from profound decisions involving the wellbeing of their own children.”
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