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Texas lawmakers introduce bill restricting teachings on gender identity, reinforcing parental rights

"A school district employee may not discourage or prohibit parental knowledge of or involvement in critical decisions affecting a student’s mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being," the bill states.

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Hannah Nightingale Washington DC
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Texas legislators introduced a bill on Thursday that prohibits schools from withholding information regarding the mental, physical, or emotional well-being, or changes in gender identity of students, and restricts the teaching of gender identity and sexual orientation.

The legislation comes as a slew of schools across the country have adopted procedures that allow students to take on a different gender identity at school without the knowledge of their parents.

SB 393 states that parents have a "right" to know "information regarding mental, emotional, and physical health and health-related services" related to their child.

It states that schools will be required to inform a parent of changes to services provided or the monitoring of a student in relation to their mental, emotional, or physical health, and states that procedures adopted by the school "must reinforce the fundamental right of a parent to make decisions regarding the upbringing and education."

To comply with this, schools will be required to "encourage a student to discuss issues relating to the student’s well-being with the student’s parents."

The legislation would also prohibit schools from adopting "a procedure or a student support form, including a student well-being questionnaire or health screening form that" prohibits a district employee from notifying the parent of a student about the student’s well-being or changes to services provided to or the monitoring of a student.

These forms or procedures are also prohibited from encouraging "or has the effect of encouraging a student to withhold from the student’s parent information" related to services provided or well-being.

"A school district employee may not discourage or prohibit parental knowledge of or involvement in critical decisions affecting a student’s mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being," the bill adds.

The bill allows for parents to withdraw consent at the beginning of the school year for health-related services.

Additionally, the bill states that staff and independent contractors like guest speakers "may not withhold from a student’s parent information related to the student’s perception of the student’s biological sex if that perception is inconsistent with the student’s biological sex as determined by the student’s sex organs, chromosomes, and endogenous hormone profiles."

Under this bill, certain clubs would require a parent’s consent for the student to join, including clubs that promote "themes of sexuality, gender, or gender identity."

The bill would also place restrictions on the teaching of sexual orientation and gender identity, stating that "a school district, open-enrollment charter school, or district or charter school employee may not provide or allow a third party to provide instruction regarding sexual orientation or gender identity to students enrolled in the district or school."

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