Connecticut Democratic lawmakers are pushing for legislation that would hide teachers’ conversations with students regarding gender identity and sexual orientation.
Democratic state Reps. Sarah Keitt, Dominique Johnson, Cristin McCarthy Vahey and Jennifer Leeper introduced “The Act Concerning Nondisclosure of Certain Communications Between Teachers and Students” which would prohibit Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for teachers’ conversations with students on certain subjects including sexual orientation, gender identity and race. The legislation would aid teachers in helping students transition their gender in secret at school, parental rights in education advocates told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
“The language in this bill seems to be a deliberate attempt to hide information from parents and the public,” Erika Sanzi, director of outreach for Parents Defending Education, a group focused on parental rights in education, told the DCNF. “Schools are public and parents have a right to know what their children are being told and taught, especially when it comes to subjects that have become highly ideological and politicized in the classroom. It is never okay to tinker in the minds of children and then keep it a secret.”
Democratic lawmakers also introduced a piece of legislation in the state that would prohibit public school educators from being punished or restricted from teaching “about subjects in which ideological differences of opinion exist between such board and educator.” The bill names topics including “gender, sexuality, race, racism and climate change.”
The pieces of legislation would diminish transparency within districts when parents need to know what is going on in their child’s school, the Hartford County, Connecticut, chapter of Moms For Liberty, a coalition of parents focused on transparency in education, told the DCNF.
“We need transparency in our school district, whether it be with the administration, board of education, and especially with our childrens’ teachers who, most importantly interact with our children daily during most of the school hours,” the Moms For Liberty chapter told the DCNF. “Who would know the children best but the parents?”
With a Democratic majority in the state senate and house, the bills have a path to become law.
Across the country, school districts are hiding student’s gender transitions from their parents; some of the nation’s largest school districts including Los Angeles Unified School District, Chicago Public Schools and New York Public Schools have policies which hide a student’s transgender status from their parents. The policies have become a focus in the battle for an increase in parental rights within the classroom.
“Democrat lawmakers in Connecticut are attempting to put additional barriers to parental rights into law,” Laura Zorc, executive director of Building Education for Students Together, a group focused on parental rights in education, told the DCNF. “Many court cases over the years have explicitly recognized the right of parents to ‘direct the upbringing and education of children under their control,’ (Meyer v. Nebraska, Pierce v. Society of Sisters) so the idea that teachers should be allowed to direct the moral teaching of someone else’s child, or worse conference with that child about something as serious as sexual or gender identity without a parent’s knowledge, let alone permission, is unconscionable.”
Keitt, Johnson, McCarthy Vahey and Leeper did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.