Story at a glance
Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) has introduced a bill to cut federal funding from schools with transgender support policies that do not involve parental consent.
The measure, titled the Parental Rights Over the Education and Care of Their Kids Act, would bar elementary and middle schools in the U.S. from allowing a student to use a different name, pronoun, restroom or locker room without the knowledge of their parents.
Conservative lawmakers at the state level this year have pursued similar measures.
Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) on Tuesday introduced legislation to withhold federal funding from schools with transgender support policies that do not require faculty or staff to obtain parental consent before changing a student’s name or pronouns on school records.
Scott’s Parental Rights Over the Education and Care of Their Kids Act — or the PROTECT Kids Act — would cut federal funding from any elementary or middle school in the U.S. that allows students to change their pronouns or gender markers on school forms without permission from their parents.
The measure would also prevent young transgender students from using school facilities like restrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity if their use of those accommodations is not first approved by their parents.
In a Tuesday interview with Fox News, Scott said his legislation is a “common sense bill” that sends a “clear message” to schools that preserving the rights of parents is critical to ensuring the safety and well-being of students.
“Schools exist to educate children — not indoctrinate them. And a quality education requires input from those who know children best: their parents,” Scott said Tuesday in a statement released by his office. “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,” Scott said.
Conservative lawmakers across the country this year have cited eroding parental rights as cause for adopting legislation to limit how topics related to gender identity and sexual orientation can be talked about in schools and restrict how transgender young people may access gender-affirming health care.
At the same time, parents advocating against such measures have used similar arguments to claim that state governments do not have the right to unilaterally make decisions about the care or control of their children.
According to Scott’s bill, every parent has a “fundamental, constitutionally guaranteed right to raise and educate their children in the way that they choose.”
“Public schools across the country are violating these fundamental parental and familial rights by deliberately hiding information about gender transitioning children from their parents,” the bill states. It references transgender support policies adopted by school districts in Maryland, Virginia and Iowa that allow students to socially transition without the consent of their parents.
“Regardless of their intentions, these schools are sabotaging the parent-child relationship and encouraging children to keep secrets from the adults who are charged with protecting and defending them—their parents,” the measure continues. “Children do best when their parents are actively involved in their education. School districts, activist organizations, and teachers unions must never be allowed to intrude on parental rights by concealing critical information from parents about their children.”
Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) are co-sponsoring Scott’s legislation.
The bill is also backed by conservative groups Parents Defending Education Action and Independent Women’s Voice, an organization that has released model legislation intended to bar transgender athletes from competing on school sports teams that match their gender identity.