Education /

New Hampshire Legislature Votes Against Requiring Schools to Tell Parents About Students' Gender Transition

A parent who asked a state representative to vote for the bill without any amendments was told to 'shut up' and to 'let the teachers teach'

The New Hampshire House voted against a bill that would have required schools to inform parents if their children elect to go by alternative names or pronouns that do not match their biological sex.

Senate Bill 272, known as the Parents’ Bill of Rights, failed following a 195-190 vote on May 18. The policy was indefinitely postponed and cannot be taken up for the remainder of the legislative session.

If enacted, the policy would have required schools to “establish a consistent mechanism for parents to be notified of information relating to the health, well-being, and educational progress of their minor children while those children are in the custody and control of the public schools.”

Ultimately, New Hampshire House Democrats attached multiple “poison pill” amendments to SB 272 in order to “weaken the bill,” reports PBS.

The bill was passed by the state’s Republican-led Senate in March. Advocates of the policy said the requirement would strengthen families and parent-child relationships.

State Senator Dan Innis, an openly gay man and a Republican, said in the debate before his chamber’s vote that if a student is “visibly transitioning at school or is visibly gay,” parents should be informed by teachers.

“I think this bill will create a situation where it’s less likely that a student will be outed by his or her peers, and more likely that it will happen in a way that supports that child,” he said in March. “I can tell you at age 13, I, too, was very confused, and parental support would have been very helpful.”

“Parents who ask such questions likely already suspect that their children are having problematic issues in this area, so this bill is not an effort to ‘out’ such students,” wrote Republican Rep. Arlene Quartatiello in her remarks that were published ahead of the vote, per Boston 25. “It is, rather, an effort to empower a partnership between parents and teachers to most effectively help vulnerable children navigate complicated situations that may involve life-altering decisions.”

Opponents argued requiring schools to tell parents about their children’s decisions regarding their names and gender would violate constitutional privacy rights and increase bigotry.

State Senator Donovan Fenton, a Democrat, said the bill would “further drive the transphobic and homophobic narrative that has begun to infiltrate our state from national interest groups.”

“The attacks and targeting of the LGBTQ+ community has increased across the country, and New Hampshire is no exception to that,” said Fenton after the Senate’s 14-10 vote, per Fox News

State Representative Tommy Hoyt told a parent who emailed him requesting that he vote in favor without any amendments to SB 272 to “shut up.”

“Do you know why your childrens’ results tanked during covid?” Hoyt wrote in an email obtained by The Maine Wire. “Their parents were incompetent teachers. Do your children a favor, let the teachers teach, and shut up. You’re clearly no professional.”

The National Education Association of New Hampshire endorse Hoyt during his last campaign.

Governor Chris Sununu, a Republican, had said he planned to generally support SB 272 although he vetoed a comparable piece of legislation in 2022, per The Concord Monitor.

Parental Bill of Rights-style educational policies have been adopted in a number of states, including Florida, Arizona, Georgia, and Louisiana. 

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