Austin. On Tuesday, Texas State Representative Jared Patterson filed a bill to ban the teaching of sexual orientation or gender identity in public education.
House Bill 1155 would ban lessons on these topics from kindergarten through eighth grade.
It’s almost an imitation of last year’s controversial Florida law, dubbed “Don’t Say Gay,” which expands the requirement after third grade, which was passed in Florida for high schools.
“Parents and taxpayers have been talking loudly for over a year now. The message is no longer a radical ideology in the classroom – especially when it comes to inappropriate or obscene content,” Patterson tweeted on Wednesday. “The sexualization of our children must stop.”
In addition, the bill aims to strengthen parental rights in relation to their child’s education and interaction with school staff, especially in the area of health services such as mental, emotional and physical health.
It prohibits school districts from providing a health-related questionnaire or assessment to students before they first inform and obtain parent consent, or provides parents with the option to opt out of health services offered during the school year.
It also prohibits school districts from adopting policies that prevent parents from accessing information about their child’s education or health, or that prevent parents from sharing information about a child’s well-being.
The Texas Board of Education has also been directed to review school counseling frameworks and standards, teaching methods, and any guidelines, standards, and frameworks for student support personnel by August 1, 2024, in accordance with the bill.
“Given what we’ve found, this bill is necessary to give parents maximum transparency and control over health care in our schools,” said Patterson, a Frisco Republican.
Upon news of the bill, Resource Center CEO Cece Cox called it “another attempt by Texas politicians to further marginalize and erase LGBTQIA+ youth in school.”
The resource center provides health and wellness education and advocacy for the LGBTQIA+ community.
Cox said that simply discussing these issues impacts the well-being of LGBTQIA+ youth, where LGBTQIA+ youth organizations such as The Trevor Project have reported a surge in mental health services following similar bills proposed in the last legislative session.
“No one is demanding standards of learning that are not accurate and age-appropriate. These bills seem like just another political stunt that will end up harming children,” Cox said.
Next week, Texas lawmakers will travel to Austin, where the 88th legislative session is scheduled to take place on Tuesday.