INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – State legislators are taking a closer look at an education law that would impact LGBTQ students.
“The only thing schools should be concerned about is making sure students feel safe, are being listened to, and are actively involved in learning in the classroom,” said Elazia Davison, a student at BELIEVE Circle City High School .
Senate Act 354 would require public and charter schools to notify parents if their student makes a specific disclosure regarding their gender identity or gender expression to any school employee or staff.
They must also notify parents if their student expresses a desire to change their name, dress, pronoun, title, or word to identify them in a way that is inconsistent with the student’s biological sex at birth matches.
At BELIEVE Circle City High School, Davison is concerned about the impact.
“It can also be very dangerous because I’m dating someone who has a very traditional parent. Both of my parents were raised to believe that being a trans man just because I’m queer is unacceptable and wrong,” Davison said.
“One can never fully understand or be aware of how a parent or guardian might respond to a particular situation, so that potentially inadvertent teachers disclosing information that a student may have shared with a parent endangers that student’s life could,” said Jawn Manning, the associate principal at BELIEVE Circle City High School.
Manning says it can also affect students who seek help from their teachers.
“Obviously, we always want to be able to communicate with our parents and let them know how their students are doing mentally and physically, emotionally and educationally, but we also want to be able to create boundaries and trust and a safe space for students,” Manning said.
“Senate Bill 354 only requires school districts to notify a parent if their child has expressed conflicting feelings about gender identity or gender expression, or if the student requests that their name, dress or title be changed to one that reflects their child’s identity.” does not match their biological sex at birth. Parents should know if their child is struggling and should not be distracted by the situation,” Centerville Republican State Senator Jeff Raatz said.
Democratic Senator JD Ford of Indianapolis opposes the bill.
“Testing results, making sure our kids are reading through third grade. Those are all things, ideas in our state that deserve our attention, and it’s disappointing to be submitting these very astute bills that I don’t think should be,” Ford said.
In November 2018, Ford became the first openly gay man to be elected to the Indiana legislature. “When we introduce a set of laws that basically say you are not welcome here, it causes people to think, is this a state that loves me, trusts me, believes in me, or is this a state , who does ‘I don’t want me to exist, and I really want those people to know that as our only active member of the LGBTQ+ community, we love you and want your brilliance,'” Ford said.
The bill had its first reading on January 12th.
Story of Camila Fernandez