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Proposed U.S bill could force teachers to out LGBT students

The Texas legislation would give parents full access to records on gender identity and sexual orientation of students, all without their consent

A Texan senator has put forward a bill that would force teachers and public school employees to out LGBT students to parents.

Senator Konni Burton proposed legislation that would give parents access to their child’s school record, which records “general physical, psychological or emotional well-being”, including information on sexuality and gender identity.

Burton filed the motion as a response to Texas school district Fort Worth’s guidelines about transgender students. Initially, rules in place denied parental access to details about students’ gender identity, but this was changed following a campaign by Dan Patrick, Lt. Governor of Texas.

“The guidelines made it acceptable for teachers and staff to withhold personal information about a student from that student’s parents,” she wrote on her website.  Burton maintains she is upholding a parent’s “basic right to matter in their child’s life again.” Teachers and counsellors who withhold this kind of information should face discipline, according to the bill.

Responding to criticism of the bill, Burton’s representatives said such information would only be made available if a parent asked for it. This is of course all without the child’s consent, and could be dangerous information disclosed against the will of a young LGBT person living in conservative Texas.

As NY Magazine reports, Equality Texas, a non-profit charity for LGBT Americans, said in a statement against the legislation: “Until kids are not kicked out of their house for being gay or transgender, and until kids are not being beaten by parents for being gay or transgender, we owe it to kids to protect them.

“We believe Sen. Burton’s legislation would essentially destroy protected communications between a student and an educator.”