New Louisiana proposal restricts teachers from addressing students with preferred pronouns without parent permission

Published: Mar. 21, 2023 at 7:20 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - A student’s preferred pronouns and name, if differs from those assigned at birth, may not be used in the classroom under new proposed law.

The pre filed bill by Rep. Raymond Crews, a republican from Bossier City would restrict the way teachers address their students.

HB81 would require teachers to use a students name and pronouns recorded on their birth certificates unless a parent gives written permission to address the student otherwise.

“It’s actively taking away their power and ability to be who they want to be,” Pearl Ricks (they/them pronouns) said.

If passed, it would require a parent to give the school written permission in order for the student to use their preferred pronouns if different from their birth certificate.

“I believe that young people are sometimes not who their parents see them to be and that’s not something that needs to carry shame,” Ricks said. “That’s not something that needs to have legislation behind it. that’s not something that needs to be enforced against them.”

The bill also states a school “employee shall not be required to refer to any person by certain pronouns if contrary to the employee’s religious or moral convictions.”

“What you’re asking is for officials, for teachers, for anyone who works in the school district to cast judgment on an individual student on what their sexual gender is or biological gender is,” Ricks said.

They explained the bill is not inclusive to a community of people especially those who are trans, questioning their identity or are born intersex.

“It’s uncomfortable,” Ricks said. “It’s unfortunate. it’s very lazy legislation and I really hope that representatives throughout the session withdraw these harmful bills.”

Ricks has a message for young people in Louisiana wanting them to know they are seen.

“This may be difficult, but so many people are in your corner,” they said.

Peyton Rose Michelle (she/her pronouns), Executive Director of Louisiana Trans Advocates:

This bill, HB81, will codify disrespect as the default for trans students by their public school officials into law. This feels redundant to say, but this will obviously harm students if passed. The bill provides an exception for parents who write a letter to the school requesting they use suitable pronouns for their student, but even then, this bill would allow public school officials to continue to disrespect students if they cite their religious beliefs. As a follower of Christ myself, I just don’t see any value in our government encouraging teachers to disrespect any student. We’re among the worst in the nation for education, and this bill will do nothing to move us in a more positive direction. We should be investing in students during their development so they can add value to society when they’re adults, not politicizing who they should be.

7News has reached out to Rep. Crews for comment, but he has not responded to our request.

However, Crews does cite the 14th amendment of the United States constitution in his reasoning for the bill, saying it protects the rights of parents to direct the care, upbringing, education and welfare of their children.

Crews said the supreme court has ruled that a state cannot infringe on the right of parents.

“Does not permit a State to infringe on the fundamental right of parents to make child rearing decisions simply because a state judge believes a ‘better’ decision could be made,” Crews said.”

This bill will first head to the education committee. The session starts Monday, April 10.