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Georgia bill would restrict teaching gender in private schools

By 37ci3 Feb14,2024

The Georgia Senate committee is moving forward a a long standing offer aims to stop private school teachers from talking to students about gender identity without parental permission, but both gay rights groups and some religious conservatives oppose the bill.

Senate Bill 88On Tuesday, a majority of Republicans passed the Senate Education and Youth Committee on a party-line vote to now ban private schools from “gender identity, queer theory, gender ideology, or gender transition.”

“We worked hard to make this bill fair, while also achieving our goal of making sure children’s parents are involved in a sensitive and often life-changing issue,” said Cordele Republican Sen. Carden Summers.

Liberal opponents say the measure, which has been sent to the Senate for further debate, remains a thinly veiled attack on LGBTQ students.

“There was no evidence presented that children were being taught gender identity issues in school, which would cause any kind of confusion or coercion,” Jeff Graham, executive director of LGBTQ advocacy group Georgia Equality, said after the hearing.

Some conservatives say the law is a flawed attempt to regulate private schools that unwisely enshrine the concept of gender identity in state law. They also say it will allow public schools to outperform schools in Georgia 2022 parental rights actIt gives each parent “the right to direct the education and moral or religious training of his minor child.”

On Tuesday, some gay people testified in favor of the bill, saying that transgender activists do not represent them.

“They’re promoting this weird sexuality ideology to kids,” said Jeff Cleghorn, a former Georgia Equality board member. “Activists in schools have no business interfering with parent-child relationships. Don’t let schools teach kids to keep secrets from their parents.”

Supporters like Cleghorn don’t represent the majority opinion in their communities, Graham said.

The committee’s chairman, Buford Republican Clint Dixon, did not allow opponents to testify, saying Sen. Elena Parent, Democrat of Atlanta, “was a real black eye moving forward on this case.”

The measure requires public schools to create policies by Jan. 1, 2025, that define how schools will address issues of gender identity or a child who chooses to dress as a different sex or use a different name.

Public schools that violate the law will be subject to suspension of state aid and barred from participating in the Georgia High School Association, the state’s primary athletic and extracurricular organization. Private schools in violation of the law will be prohibited from receiving government money issued by check for children with special educational needs. Public school teachers and administrators will be threatened with losing their state teaching licenses.

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By 37ci3

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