A number of Republican lawmakers and elected officials have pushed for increased parental rights in recent years as public schools have increasingly adopted controversial programs related to issues including gender and race.
For his part, U.S. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) hopes to prevent school administrators from keeping parents in the dark about the gender identity and preferred pronouns their children are using while at school.
He recently introduced a bill known as the Parental Rights Over the Education and Care of Their Kids Act, which, if successful, would cost elementary and middle schools federal tax dollars if they engage in certain gender-related activities.
The proposed bill states that U.S. law “has long recognized the importance of parental rights,” citing the 14th Amendment as a guarantee that parents can maintain an interest in their children’s education.
“Public schools across the country are violating these fundamental parental and familial rights by deliberately hiding information about gender transitioning from their parents,” the bill adds.
In addition to targeting schools that refuse to share such information from parents, Scott’s proposal calls for withholding federal funds from schools that allow students to change their pronouns or use restrooms and other facilities aligning with their gender identity.
In a press release defending the bill, Scott wrote: “Schools exist to educate children — not indoctrinate them. And a quality education requires input from those who know children best: their parents.”
He went on to lament the “radical and secretive gender policies” in place across America that “have shut parents out of the conversation and broken their trust.”
Parents MUST have a voice in their children’s education.
That’s why I introduced the PROTECT Kids Act to prevent schools from secretly indoctrinating children with activist ideologies.https://t.co/LinnPewBwA
— Tim Scott (@votetimscott) September 20, 2022
According to Scott, the solution he is putting forward would “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 debate over whether schools should be allowed to keep gender information secret from parents has played out in forums of all types, including the courtroom.
Earlier this year, a retired Kansas educator received a $95,000 settlement after her school district demanded that she deceive parents about the gender identity of a student. She argued that doing so represented a violation of her Christian faith.