The Senate on Thursday passed Senate Bill 150, the “rights in public schools” bill just hours after the Senate Education Committee approved an amended version of the bill.
Sen. Max Wise, R-Campbellsville, the bill’s sponsor, said during the debate on Senate floor that the bill is designed to improve parental communication and increase transparency in schools.
“This bill does not target or condemn lifestyles. This bill does not abolish sex education curriculum. This bill does not usurp local school board authority,” Wise said.
Under the bill, teachers could decide whether or not to use a student’s preferred pronouns, the department of education could not issue guidance on using pronouns that do not conform to a student’s biological sex and districts could not have policies of keeping information confidential from parents.
“The terms he and she communicate fixed facts about a person and teachers should not be forced to violate their consciences regarding what they know to be true or not true,” Wise said.
The bill does not prevent school personnel from “withholding information from a parent if a reasonably prudent person would believe, based on previous conduct and history, that the disclosure would result in the child becoming a dependent child or an abused or neglected child.”
The amended bill clarifies that adults in public schools must still report suspected child abuse and neglect. The changes also include requiring parental notice two weeks before any course on human sexuality, requiring consent prior to students being given a well-being questionnaire or assessment and narrowing the list of mental health services that require special parental consent to not include academic and career counseling.
The bill passed the Senate on a party-line vote of 29-6 and will now go to the House.