A Tea Party senator from Texas has proposed a bill that would lawfully require school employees to out LGBT students to their parents, regardless if the student is ready to come out or not.
According to a report from LOGO, Konnie Burton filed SB 242, which mandates punishment for any school employee who fails to disclose the sexual or gender identity of students to their parents. Burton’s inspiration for the bill came after her hometown of Fort Worth enacted guidelines to protect transgender students, barring faculty from informing parents of a child’s gender identity without the child’s permission.
When Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick fought back against the new guidelines, school officials buckled. Seeing an opening, Burton crafted the bill designed to make it impossible for Texas schools to keep the sexual and gender identities of students confidential.
“We found these provisions in desperate need of clarity and expansion,” Burton said according to LOGO. “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, emotional health, and more.”“Further, my legislation will make it expressly against state law for a district to add policies designed to undermine a parent’s right to know,” she continued. “No parent in Texas should ever have to fight for a basic right to matter in their child’s life again.”
The wording of this deeply discriminatory bill— “physical, mental, emotional health, and more”—implicitly pathologizes non-heteronormative sexual and gender orientation. That is to say, parents should be informed if their children identify as queer, because it is, in Burton’s estimation, “unhealthy.”
Moreover, the very phrase “right to know” is deeply alarming. As most of us are aware, it’s not always safe for a child to disclose their sexual or gender identity to their parents. If passed, Burton’s bill will not only constitute a hideous violation of privacy — it will put queer youth at tremendous risk.
Elliott Griffin, Burton’s chief of staff, confirmed to the Houston Chronicle that the bill was “written in response to the Fort Worth school district issuing new guidelines about transgender students.”
Featured image via LOGO