Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) introduced a bill Tuesday to prevent schools from keeping a child’s gender transition from their parents.
The Parental Rights Over the Education and Care of Their (PROTECT) Kids Act would require schools that receive federal funding to obtain parents’ permission before changing a student’s gender pronouns or preferred name on a school form, or allowing that student to use locker rooms or bathrooms that comport with their selected gender identity.
“Schools exist to educate children — not indoctrinate them. And a quality education requires input from those who know children best: their parents,” Scott said in a statement announcing the bill. “Sadly, radical and secretive gender policies have shut parents out of the conversation and broken their trust. My bill will safeguard parental rights, improve the crucial relationship between parents and schools, and ensure that children can learn in an environment free from activist ideology.”
The text of the law states:
As a condition of receiving Federal funds, any elementary school…or school that consists of only middle grades… that receives Federal funds shall be required to obtain parental consent before—
(1) changing a minor child’s gender markers, pronouns, or preferred name on any school form; or
(2) allowing a child to change the child’s sex based accommodations, including locker rooms or bathrooms
“The law in the United States has long recognized the importance of parental rights,” the bill says in its “findings” section. “A parent’s right to oversee the care and education of their child is guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment.”
But “public schools across the country are violating these fundamental parental and familial rights by deliberately hiding information about gender transitioning children from their parents,” the bill states, citing several instances across the country in which schools instructed staff to conduct a student’s gender transition without parental consent.
First, the bill cited the Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland, which published a document on Gender Identity that instructed school administrators to facilitate a “gender support plan” for transgender students that did not require parents to be involved. Second, the bill cited the Linn-Mar Community School District in Iowa, which was sued for creating similar “gender support plans” for students without parents’ consent. Third, it cited the case of Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia, which mandated that all teachers complete a training program that required them to recognize the gender identity of transgender students, use their preferred name and pronouns in class and on official school records, and allow them to use locker rooms and bathrooms that comport with their selected gender identity, all without parental consent.
Scott’s legislation comes after Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin replaced a statewide transgender policy with one that prioritizes parents’ rights.
“The U.S. Constitution, the Virginia Constitution, federal law, state law, and relevant case law place beyond debate the rights of parents to be informed about their children and the limitations of government to usurp parents’ rightful role,” the document stated. “Additionally, decades of research conducted worldwide has consistently concluded that parental involvement in a child’s education and development is paramount.”
The document requires parents to request in writing for schools to recognize a child’s transgender identity; it requires teachers only to use the name in the student’s official records; students are required to use locker rooms and bathrooms and compete in sports that comport with their biological sex; and “[n]o policy, guidance, training, or other written material issued by the [School Division] may encourage or instruct teachers to conceal material information about a student from the student’s parent.”