Texas State Senator Konni Burton has proposed legislation that would require schools to out gay and transgender students in her state.
Burton's Senate Bill 242—proposed just days after Donald Trump was named president-elect—requires schools in Texas to release all written records regarding a child's general physical, psychological and emotional well-being, with the exception of any reports of child abuse. That meeans, if a teen told a teacher she was gay or transgender, teachers would be required to disclose the private discussion in the child's records and that record is available to the student's parents. Teachers or school leaders who do not disclose a teen's private confession would be breaking the law and subject to discipline.
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Burton's chief of staff, Elliott Griffin, told the Houston Chronicle that the bill is a response to a recent policy adopted by a Fort Worth school district that would protect transgender students from discrimination and required schools to allow students to use whichever bathroom reflected their gender of choice.
If made law, students would be at risk for abuse or neglect from parents who either would not support a gay or transgender child or who believe the discredited 'restorative therapy' would change their child's sexuality or gender identity.
LGBTQ advocates say the bill, if made into law, would put gay and transgender teens—already at higher risk for suicides—in danger.
Often, coming out to teachers is a test-run for coming out to family and others, and the bill covers that, too.
"A request by a child to an employee of a school district to conceal or withhold information or general knowledge concerning the child from the child’s parent is not a defense to any disciplinary action taken against the employee," the bill reads.
If made law, students would be at risk for abuse or neglect from parents who either would not support a gay or transgender child or who believe the discredited "restorative therapy" method would change their child's sexuality or gender identity.
“Until kids are not kicked out of their house for being gay or transgender, and until kids are not being beaten by parents for being gay or transgender, we owe it to kids to protect them,” Steven M. Rudman, chairman of Equality Texas, said in a statement. “We believe Sen. Burton’s legislation would essentially destroy protected communications between a student and an educator.”
Burton describes herself on her website as "first and foremost a wife, a mom and a lifelong Christian."
The bill will be considered in Texas’ next legislative session, which begins Jan. 10.