Dozens of public school teachers in Alaska have spoken out against Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s House Bill 105, the legislation that ensures that teachers are not keeping secrets from parents about students who are starting to have gender confusion.
Another House committee hearing was held on Thursday night, and at the request of opposing legislators such as Rep. Andrew Gray and Rep. Jennie Armstrong, teachers and LGBTQ Alaskans from across the states clogged the phone lines.
According to the teachers who testified on Thursday before the House Education Committee, teachers have a right and a duty to keep these matters secret.
The teachers said that minors have a right to change their names at school without their parents knowing about it.
The teachers also insisted that boys with penises should be allowed to use female bathrooms and locker rooms without their parents knowing about it.
In other words, once parents release their children to schools, they must trust the teachers to have confidential talks with their children, no matter the subject matter. There are some things that parents should just not know.
Members of the LGBTQ community and their self-described allies agreed with the teachers who testified: They believe it is a First Amendment right for a minor of any age to be able to change his or her name and gender identity without a parent knowing, and for schools to keep self-chosen names secret from parents.
Under this new right that testifiers believe minors have under the U.S. Constitution, a kindergarten student could have a different name at school, and be assigned a different gender identity than the name and gender at home. At school, a boy could be called a girl, while at home he would be known as a son and brother. School records, as in done in Anchorage, could have one set of documents for teachers and administrators, and another set of documentation for parents, with different information.
The Thursday hearing was much like another recent hearing, with only about 36 Alaskans speaking out in favor of parents’ rights in education and a flood of teachers, LBGTQ advocates and parents of transgenders taking over the phone lines.
HB 105 establishes parameters for what schools can teach regarding the brave new world of sex education, without parents affirmatively opting in to the curriculum. Current state law has an opt-out provision for parents to sign, but this bill puts more responsibility on parents to inform themselves about what is being taught. Without a permission slip, students may not be able to stay in class for such lessons as how to have anal sex, or whether they are actually a different gender.