Sen. Tim Scott (R-South Carolina) has introduced a new bill that would prevent government-funded schools from concealing information about students’ gender preferences from their parents.
The bill, titled the “Parental Rights Over the Education and Care of Their (PROTECT) Kids Act,” would require elementary and middle schools that receive federal funds to obtain parental consent before changing a student’s gender markers, pronouns or preferred name on any school form. It also compels schools to receive permission from parents before allowing a child to use sex-based accommodations, such as locker rooms and bathrooms, that do not align with the child’s biological sex.
“Schools exist to educate children—not indoctrinate them,” said Scott. “A quality education requires input from those who know children best: their parents. 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 legislation cites the 14th Amendment, which in regards to parental rights, the U.S. Supreme Court has interpreted to mean “parents have a fundamental right to direct the care, custody and control of their children.”
Scott’s introduction of the parental rights bill comes after Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin updated the Virginia Department of Education’s “model policies” regarding the treatment of transgender students in the state’s public schools, stating that the previous “guidelines disregarded the rights of parents.”
While proponents have welcomed Youngkin’s policy changes and lauded the new measures for giving parents greater discretion over their child’s schooling experience, transgender activists have staged protests across the state.
Scott’s PROTECT Kids Act is being supported by Parents Defending Education Action and Independent Women’s Voice but is not expected to pass this term in the Democrat-controlled Senate. Conservative lawmakers have indicated that if the bill fails this session, they will reintroduce the legislation in 2024.
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