Teachers Would Face Discipline For Failing To Disclose Info About Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity
Texas tea party state Sen. Konni Burton (pictured with Sen. Ted Cruz) has filed legislation that would effectively require public school employees to out LGBT students to their parents.
Under Burton's Senate Bill 242, teachers and other school employees who fail to disclose a student's sexual orientation or gender identity to parents could face discipline, even if the student requests that the information be withheld.
If passed, SB 242 would place LGBT youth in the conservative state at risk for abuse, neglect or suicide if their parents aren't accepting. It could even expose them to the dangerous, discredited practice of "reparative therapy," which happens to be endorsed in the Texas GOP platform.
Burton, a Republican from Fort Worth, said on her website Thursday that she drafted SB 242 in response to transgender guidelines adopted by the Fort Worth school district earlier this year. As originally written, the Fort Worth guidelines barred faculty and staff from disclosing a student's transgender status to parents. However, following a hateful campaign by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, the school district revised the guidelines, eliminating the prohibition on parental notification.
Burton, a Patrick ally who also opposed the guidelines, said in response to the Fort Worth controversy, she decided to review state law governing parents' access to information from public schools.
"We found these provisions in desperate need of clarity and expansion," Burton wrote. "That is why I am planning to file a bill that rewrites these provisions to make it unequivocally clear that a parent has a right to full and total information on their child’s academic performance, physical, mental and emotional health, and more. Further, my legislation will make it expressly against state law for a district to adopt policies designed to undermine a parent’s right to know. No parent in Texas should ever have to fight for the basic right to matter in their child’s life again."
Burton couldn't immediately be reached for further comment.
Under SB 242, parents would be entitled to "any general knowledge regarding the parent's child possessed by an employee of the district." Parents would also have access to all written records "relating to the child’s general physical, psychological or emotional well-being."
Burton's bill is among dozens of anti-LGBT measures expected to be considered by the Texas Legislature when it convenes in January. On Monday, Sen. Bob Hall filed a bill that would nullify nondiscrimination ordinances covering roughly 9 million Texans, or one-third of the state's population.
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