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.
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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