Georgia parental rights bill would prevent teachers from discussing gender identity with students

Activists recycled the same failed arguments used in Florida as Georgia legislators endeavored to craft their own version of the Parental Rights in Education law that’s even shorter than its seven page forerunner.

Maligned across the country as the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill, corporate media only helped to further solidify Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) as a champion in the culture war as they found themselves opposed to common sense reforms to maintain age appropriate education that never once even mentioned the word “gay.” Now, Georgia state Sen. Carden Summers (R) is getting the same pushback after introducing a second draft of the four page Senate Bill 88.

Defending the legislation despite conceding to another rewrite Tuesday, Summers told the Senate Education and Youth Committee hearing “We’re simply trying to limit the exposure that a person would have on a child regarding gender. That’s where it’s at. They’re not supposed to … talk to that child about your gender without permission from the parent.”

As written, SB 88 requires school employees to obtain parental consent before seeking to provide or obtain information relating to sex, a child’s sexual orientation or their gender identity. It also prohibits school employees from altering a child’s personal records “with respect to gender without consent of the child’s parents or legal guardians” or from dressing “in a sexually provocative manner” as determined by the prevailing institution.

While accusing conservatives of stoking fear, activists like those from the Georgia Youth Justice Coalition fear mongered over the supposed censorship of the “discussion of sexuality and gender” and said, “Across our races, backgrounds, and genders, most young Georgians like us want the freedom to learn, to be ourselves, and to grow up healthy and safe. But a handful of politicians choose to stoke fear in order to put their desire for political power over our future.”

Coalition member Francesca Ruhe was reported by the Associated Press as saying, “SB 88 would act as a gag order and a very vague, very constraining gag order. SB 88 is a coward’s attempt to target a demographic that is already persecuted enough.”


Just as Florida’s law did no such thing as prohibit use of the word “gay,” Georgia’s bill as written does not prohibit instruction of “sensitive” content. It merely requires parental consent to do so.

At a news conference following the hearing Georgia Equality’s executive director Jeff Graham attempted a different tact as he suggested, “The role of our teachers is to provide a safe and inclusive learning environment for our kids, free from bullying and discrimination. Bills that force teachers to out LGBTQ+ kids to their parents are extremist political stunts, that pit teachers, parents and students against each other.”

Likewise, Georgia Association of Educational Leaders executive director Robert Costley charged sex education teachers will “wonder, ‘Am I allowed to talk to my student about a class that I taught?'”

“I don’t think any educator’s going to get up and say, ‘Yeah, we want to proselytize kids,'” he argued further seemingly oblivious to the litany of examples of educators promoting their ideologies to minors.


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Kevin Haggerty


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