California Senate passes bill banning schools from disclosing students' gender identity without consent

The bill, AB-1955, has sparked debate on parental rights and LGBTQ+ student protection.

California Senate passes bill banning schools from disclosing students' gender identity without consent
Anjali Sharif-Paul/The Orange County Register via AP
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The California Senate has approved AB-1955, a bill that prohibits schools from disclosing information about students' gender identity or preferred pronouns to their parents without the students' consent, unless required by law. 

The bill passed along party lines, with all 29 Democrats voting in favor and all eight Republicans voting against. It now moves to the state Assembly for further consideration before potentially reaching Governor Gavin Newsom's desk, the Associated Press reports.

Under the proposed legislation, school districts and governing bodies of educational institutions would be barred from implementing policies or regulations that require employees or contractors to disclose information related to a student's sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression without the student's consent. 

The bill also seeks to protect employees from retaliation or adverse action for supporting students in exercising their rights or providing certain instruction.

Republican state Senator Kelly Seyarto opposed the bill, arguing that schools should prioritize informing parents about classroom activities. "If we include parents," he said, "that's the best way to take something from people being angry and mad to developing a solution that works for everybody."

Greg Burt, vice president of the California Family Council, cautioned against assuming that all parents are unsafe for their children. However, supporters of the bill cited instances of LGBTQ+ youth being kicked out of their homes by unaccepting families as a reason for the legislation.

Governor Newsom has not yet taken a stance on the bill but has expressed his intention to review it if it reaches his desk.

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