AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced he wants to create a Texas version of a recently-signed bill in Florida that aims to give parents more rights when it comes to what their kids learn in school.
Under House Bill 1557 in Florida, school districts cannot talk about sexual orientation or gender identity with kids below fourth grade.
Critics call it the “Don’t Say Gay” law.
Texas has recently been the site of protests with the LGBTQ community feeling like its rights are being attacked.
“I found out around first grade that I was gay, and I was severely bullied for that,” a transgender pre-teen told KXAN in March.
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The pre-teen said bullying is not what he’s most worried about now.
The law would also give parents or anyone the right to sue a district if they believe the law was broken.
“I think it doesn’t go far enough that the bill should include all grade levels, I’d like to know exactly how it’s harming anybody,” said Tracy Shannon, CEO of pro-life organization Culture Warriors of America. “We didn’t talk about these things in school when I was growing up…we’re being told that people are dying because of our viewpoints.”
Evan Donovan, a Florida politics reporter, has followed the progression of the bill there.
“What it’s looked like for us is trying to accurately represent what it says in the bill, while also representing what the opponents of the bill say is already happening—which is that it’s having a chilling effect on speech in classrooms about LGBTQ people,” Donovan said. “It goes into effect on July 1, there’s already been a lawsuit trying to stop it.”
Other aspects of the bill aren’t as controversial.
“It does things like forces school districts to notify parents if there’s a change in their student’s services or monitoring,” Donovan said. “It forces them to respond to parental concerns within a week to resolve those concerns within a month.”
Patrick said this bill would be a priority in the 2023 session.