Opt out of school gender identity programs
Part 3 of a series on leftist indoctrination in taxpayer funded institutions
By Conduit News Editorial Board
Are you the parent or guardian of a child who attends the Fayetteville School District? Are you opposed to the Fayetteville school district surveying your child about his or her sexual identity, developing a Gender Support Plan for your child, assigning an on-campus adult to be your child’s “go to” person on campus concerning gender identity, or providing instruction on gender identity?
If so, tell the Fayetteville School District in writing you “opt out” your child from the district’s gender identity program as provided under ACA § 6-16-1006.
ACA § 6-16-1006 was passed in 2021 to give parents and guardians a way to protect their children from the radical left’s sexualization of children. The law was passed as Act 552 of 2021 (SB389). The lead sponsor was Senator Bob Ballinger and the co-sponsors were Senator Charles Beckham and Representatives Mary Bentley, Justin Gonzales, and Aaron Pilkington.
The law concerns sex education, sexual orientation, and gender identity in schools. The law requires the school district to:
- Notify parents and guardians of the existence of programs on sex education, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
- Provide parents and guardians the opportunity to inspect curricula, materials, tests, surveys, questionnaires, activities, and instruction of any kind related to sex education, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
- Provide parents and guardians with prior written information on how to “opt out” prior to their child’s participation. The parent or guardian has the right to “opt out” his or her child by notifying the public school district in writing that the parent or legal guardian does not want his or her child to participate in any of the items listed above.
The law is not just about classroom instruction. Subdivision (b)(2) of the law makes it clear the law applies regardless of whether any of the listed items are offered as part of a “sex education class or program or as part of any other class, activity, or program.”
The Fayetteville School District has a gender identity program that begins with questionnaires and surveys, develops a Gender Identity Plan for your child, and assigns an on-campus “adult” for gender identity support. The Fayetteville program began with an application for a grant from the Walton Foundation (Walmart) and the program was put in action in joining the TRUE Northwest Arkansas Train Cohort. Under the cohort, gender identity efforts are done under the broad banner of diversity. The cohort is supported by Walmart, Tyson, and others.
Before the Fayetteville School District started the process of surveying your children or providing information to children, the school district should have notified parents and guardians, given them an opportunity to inspect all materials and given parents, and guardians the opportunity to opt out.
In part 2 of this series, we included a quote from a Fayetteville school teacher who said a parent objected to the school library having the book “Gender Queer”, but the administration deemed the book was appropriate for students. Under the 2021 law, the book would be “materials” and parents and guardians should have been notified about the book and given the opportunity to opt out their child from access to all such gender identity materials.
The Fayetteville School District program is not about accepting the lifestyles of adults. It is about indoctrinating children.
The 2021 law has some exceptions, but none of the exceptions provide a loophole for Fayetteville’s gender program. Under the exceptions, the law does not apply to:
- A school district employee who responds to questions posed by public school students during class regarding sex education, sexual orientation, or gender identity as it relates to a topic of instruction. (Obviously if the parents have opted out the child would not be in the class during such instruction.)
- A school district employee who refers to the sexual orientation or gender identity of a historical person, group, or public figure when such information provides necessary context in relation to a topic of instruction. (This would be an exceedingly rare occurrence, if ever.)
- An item directly related to a requirement under the Arkansas academic standards for the particular item in question. What is the Arkansas academic standards? They are state regulations, and it would be a shock if state regulations mandated any instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Requesting mandated information from your school
We have talked about the Fayetteville School District, but is your school district also doing gender identity? Just because a school has not notified you as required by law does not mean it is not happening.
To find out what your school district is doing, request the information from your school as required under the law. In making your request, we suggest you attach a copy of the law just in case they want to plead ignorance of the law. (By the way, the 2021 law also applied to this past school year (2021-2022). Even if your school wants to hide the information by trying to categorize it as something else, don’t let them off the hook. We suggest you request the information both under ACA § 6-16-1006 and the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to hopefully cover any document they claim is not covered by the 2021 law.
How do you request public documents from your school district under the FOIA? It is easy. In a written request to your school board or your school superintendent, say (1) you are requesting the information under the FOIA, and (2) that you are a citizen of Arkansas. It is that easy. You don’t even have to do it in writing, but doing it in writing is a good idea because it leaves a document trail.
Improving the law
Act 552 of 2021 (ACA § 6-16-1006) is a good start, and the legislature should be praised for its effort. Based on how aggressive the radical left has become, we believe the law needs further improvement. School standards should be set to say gender identity programs are not to be a part of K-12 public education. At a very minimum, we think the law should be changed from an “opt out” to an “opt in” where the school must seek permission before including any student in any part of a gender identity program or instruction.
A copy of the law
As always, don’t just take our word for what the law says. Check out the law for yourself. Here is a copy of Act 552 of 2021. You may want to forward it to your school administrators and school board members.
Also, for your convenience we are providing the text of the law here so you can immediately review it:
6-16-1006. Parental notice and consent — Definitions. (a) As used in this section: (1) “Gender identity” means the same as is used in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, which defines it as a category of social identity and refers to an individual's identification as male, female, or, occasionally, some category other than male or female; and (2) “Sexual orientation” means an individual's actual or perceived orientation as heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual. (b) (1) A public school shall make the following, as they relate to sex education, sexual orientation, and gender identity, available for inspection by parents and legal guardians of participating public school students: (A) Curricula; (B) Materials; (C) Tests; (D) Surveys; (E) Questionnaires; (F) Activities; and (G) Instruction of any kind. (2) Information made available for inspection under subdivision (b)(1) of this section shall be made available regardless of whether any of the listed items are offered as part of a sex education class or program or as part of any other class, activity, or program. (c) (1) A public school shall provide: (A) Prior written notification to parents and legal guardians of public school students participating in any of the listed items under subdivision (b)(1) of this section; and (B) A means by which parents and legal guardians of public school students participating in any of the listed items under subdivision (b)(1) of this section may: (i) Inspect the items listed under subdivision (b)(1) of this section; and (ii) (a) Notify the public school district in writing if the parent or legal guardian does not want his or her child to participate in any of the items listed under subdivision (b)(1) of this section. (b) A student who is excused from participating in any or all portions of the items listed under subdivision (b)(1) of this section shall not be penalized for grading purposes if the student satisfactorily performs alternative lessons related to health. (2) Each public school shall develop a means of: (A) Providing written notification to parents and legal guardians as required under subdivision (c)(1) of this section that ensures effective notice and the ability of parents and legal guardians to exercise their rights under this section in an efficient and appropriate manner; and (B) Receiving a confirmation of receipt from parents and legal guardians of the written notification required under subdivision (c)(1) of this section. (d) This section does not require: (1) Parental notification before a public school or a public school district employee: (A) Responds to questions posed by public school students during class regarding sex education, sexual orientation, or gender identity as it relates to a topic of instruction; or (B) Refers to the sexual orientation or gender identity of a historical person, group, or public figure when such information provides necessary context in relation to a topic of instruction; or (2) Local public school districts to provide instruction regarding sex education, sexual orientation, or gender identity not otherwise required by law. (e) The requirements under subdivision (b)(1) of this section shall not apply if the listed item under subdivision (b)(1) of this section is directly related to a requirement under the Arkansas academic standards for the particular item in question. Acts 2021, No. 552, § 1.