Counselors, psychologists and school officials speak out against Parental Bill of Rights

the following article Originally published in Ohio Capital Magazine and published on under a content sharing agreement.

Dozens of people, including school counselors and psychiatrists, testified Tuesday against an Ohio Senate bill that would force schools to notify parents about sexual content and possibly even student sexual behavior, saying it Censorship, can be risky for students.

Mallory Gorski of the Kaleidoscope Youth Center said young people have a right to their privacy. Young people should have the freedom to read stories that reflect their own lives and experiences.

Ohio House Bill 8 could be up for a vote this week as it seeks to put more control over education into the hands of parents, allowing them to opt out of certain classes based on sexual content. School districts would also be prohibited from concealing changes in a student’s health status from parents and would also be prohibited from encouraging students to hide their health status, according to Huron Republican Rep. DJ Swearingen, one of the bill’s sponsors. These problems come from their parents.

Amanda Erickson of the Kaleidoscope Youth Center worries about the impact the bill will have on teachers, who may not only have to discuss with parents what students tell them but, depending on their circumstances, may themselves be affected. Your own life choices.

Erickson himself trained as a teacher and graduated into the nonprofit sector. After current and past efforts in the Ohio Legislature, a career in the classroom did not appeal to her.

Erickson asked the Senate Education Committee why I want to be a teacher in Ohio when my lawmakers are so obsessed with gender and sexual orientation that they have no time to pass legislation that will actually improve our schools.

Erickson also argued that the law might prohibit her and others from placing family photos on her desk because it might mean she wasn’t allowed to discuss them.

Erickson said that since the bill does not define the concept of sexuality or gender ideology, someone could argue that my wedding photos or the issues it might raise qualify for one of those.

The committee heard from a number of people currently in the education field, including members of the Ohio Association of School Psychologists and the Ohio School Counselor Association, who both submitted comments opposing the bill, saying it was unworkable and ignored the role of parents. important principle. 1. Student education.

Heather Fairs, a high school counselor and OSCA board member, said House Bill 8 crosses a line and places unworkable requirements on school counselors that could be detrimental to students.

Fells said exceptions need to be built into the bill for potential child abuse and neglect.

Fells told the committee that school counselor offices are a safe space for students who see the value of a neutral listener when talking about their thoughts or feelings.

Fairs said the mandatory disclosure provisions in HB 8 could undermine the resources and trust students need.

What if students came and actually talked about their relationships with their parents? Phils asked. Rushing to disclose these concerns can exacerbate tensions between parents and students.

Rachel Chilton, executive director of OSPA, which represents more than 800 school psychologists, expressed strong concerns about HB 8, which she said would create a professional conflict for school psychologists.

Chilton said requiring school staff to notify parents of changes in a student’s mental, emotional or physical health or well-being, including a student’s request to change his or her assigned gender identity, violates the National Association of School Psychologists’ professional ethics standards. committee.

The standards instruct school psychologists to respect a student’s right to privacy regarding sexual orientation, gender identity, or transgender identity and not share that information with anyone without the individual’s permission.

Resolving that conflict would involve waiving the parent disclosure requirements in the bill, similar to the exemption that Fells said would help school counselors. Chilton said the bill would force psychologists to choose between providing competent and ethical care or complying with state law.

Children told the committee it ignored extensive research into the dangers inherent in depriving vulnerable people of the psychological care they need, and the potential for suicide as a result.

Some submitted testimony in support of the bill, focusing on the idea that parents should be in control of decision-making on issues involving their children, even when it comes to school matters.

One of the supporters is Lisa Chaffee, a lead party in a federal lawsuit against Hilliard City Schools in which parents decried the federal bureaucracy for trying to change the anti-discrimination Title IX Article, including sexual orientation and gender identity. The lawsuit, cited in a national study of censorship laws and their impact, claims teachers are allowed to specifically solicit private, intimate conversations from children about sexual behavior and other issues. The lawsuit also claims the school district’s religious practices are being questioned.

Chaffee adopted a similar strategy when speaking out for HB 8.

Chaffee told the committee that activist teachers are having conversations with students they are not qualified to have and should not have conversations from an ethical perspective. The topic of gender and gender identity is one between children and parents.

As the testimony continued, committee chairman Rep. Andrew Brenner of Delaware said he believed it was necessary to address some concerns about the bill’s provisions. He said the bill would still allow local school districts to have discretion over the bill and said Ohio’s status as a home rule state would still come into play.

“What this all basically says is that we don’t want public school teachers encouraging students to withhold information from their parents,” Brenner said.

The bill could come before a majority-Republican committee vote as soon as Wednesday, and committee meetings would be scheduled if necessary. If passed, it would go to the Senate for a full vote.

The Senate is scheduled to hold its last scheduled session of the year on Wednesday afternoon.

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