HRC Applauds New Hampshire House for Defeating Education Surveillance Bill that Forcibly Outs LGBTQ+ Students

by HRC Staff

Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — commends the New Hampshire House of Representatives for defeating HB 1431, a bill that would force school staff to out LGBTQ+ students to their parents, violating the student’s right to come out on their own terms. After amendments by the New Hampshire Senate, the House decided against reconsidering HB 1431 with 176 votes against reconsideration and 171 votes in favor of reconsideration.

Trust and communication between students and their teachers is vital. If students feel that their communications are not confidential, they will be less likely to disclose important information about their mental health to school counselors and teachers. Forcibly outing students can be dangerous given that 42% of LGBTQ+ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year. 94% of LGBTQ+ youth have also reported that recent politics negatively impact their mental health.

Protecting a student’s wellbeing is entirely compatible with a parent’s right to oversee their child’s education. School staff are already required to report information like truancy, dress code violations, substance usage, or bullying to parents because those items are related to education or negatively affect the well-being of the student.

Like every student, LGBTQ+ kids deserve an education that is inclusive, safe, and helps them achieve success. As we all remember, being a student comes with the pressures of making friends, fitting in, getting good grades, or even making the basketball team. LGBTQ+ kids face everything an everyday student faces, and more. Outing minors without their consent only adds another burden and can seriously impact a student’s mental health. These are kids that already feel isolated and just want someone they trust that they can talk to. Sometimes that person is their teacher or school counselor.

Politicians in New Hampshire were not promoting parental rights, they were advancing a political agenda against the LGBTQ+ community. The New Hampshire House stood up for the LGBTQ+ students in New Hampshire by preventing this discriminatory bill from becoming law.

Cathryn Oakley, Human Rights Campaign State Legislative Director & Senior Counsel

There are more than 320 anti-LGBTQ+ bills under consideration in state legislatures across the country. Nationwide, approximately 79% of Americans favor laws that would protect LGBTQ+ people against discrimination in jobs, public accommodations, and housing.

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