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Controversial bill requiring teachers to notify parents if a child comes out as trans moves forward

Lawmakers on the senate education committee passed a bill that would limit conversations surrounding sexuality at school.
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Posted at 8:45 AM, Mar 23, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-24 17:05:51-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Lawmakers on the senate education committee passed a bill that would limit conversations surrounding sexuality at school.

The legislation would also require parents to be notified, if a student comes out as transgender.

Protesters were at the statehouse all day on Wednesday to let lawmakers know that they don’t agree with House Bill 1806. Amendments to the bill though have members of the LGBTQ community even more concerned.

The bill would ban all conversation surrounding sexuality in preschool through third grade. Along with that, if a child wishes to use a different name or pronoun and they tell a teacher or administrator they must notify a parent within 5 days of the child's request.

If a parent wishes to change their child’s name, they can only request to do so once a year.

If a teacher holds religious convictions they don't have to call a child by their preferred pronouns regardless of a parents request, and if they don’t the school can take no action against the school employee.

During the hearing members of the LGBTQ community who are parents testified that this bill is not needed.

Melanie Davis who is transgender and a parent to a bi-sexual child says lawmakers need to get to know people in the LGBTQ community before trying to legislate how they live their lives.

"I would invite you to reach out if you'd like to understand us instead of speculate and just take the word of those who offer these bills forth,” Davis said. “We know that they didn't originate in this state nor did they originate from need. I do agree that teachers should not suggest to kids that they keep secrets from their parents and I wonder if this bit comes from the misunderstanding that being transgender is somehow groomed in to kids."

The author of the bill says teachers need to teach what parents see fit, which is why she authored the bill to make sure teachers aren’t having conversations with kids that parents believe only they should have.

"I believe that parents know their children best and their authority should not be superseded by teachers and or school administrators,” State Rep Michelle Davis, a Republican representing District 58 and author of 1608 said. “By allowing our schools to instruct our young elementary students in Human sexuality and allowing students to decide on different identities without their parent’s knowledge or consent it creates unacceptable intrusion in to the parent child relationship. "

Some people that opposed the bill did so because they believe the legislation doesn’t go far enough.

They feel conversation surrounding sexuality shouldn’t take place at all in a K-12 setting. The bill passed along party lines with a vote of 9-4.

It now goes to the full senate but before it goes the governor’s desk the House has to agree to the amendments made in the senate.