Connecticut Democrat Lawmakers Seek to Protect Teachers from Parents

A group of Connecticut Democrat state representatives introduced legislation that would block teacher discussions with their students in the areas of race, gender identity, and sexuality from Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

Nicole Solas of the Independent Women’s Forum referred to the bill on Twitter as “state-sponsored grooming.”

Democrats in Connecticut and the teachers’ unions typically celebrate their co-dependent relationship. The measure known as “An Act Concerning the Nondisclosure of Certain Communications Between Teachers and Students” (H.B. 6192) is yet another example.

As the majority party in the General Assembly, Democrats often introduce legislation that aims to advance the interests of teachers, including, in this case, their protection from parents of their students.

“The language in this bill is very concerning and seems to be a deliberate attempt to hide information from parents and the public,” Erika Sanzi, director of outreach at Parents Defending Education (PDE), told The National Desk (TND) and added:

Every parent has a right to know what their children are being told and taught, especially when it comes to these subjects that have become highly ideological and politicized in the classroom.

“If students are being denigrated or shamed because of their race or ethnicity, parents and the public need to know,” Sanzi posted to Twitter.

“It isn’t okay to tinker in the minds of children and keep it a secret,” Sanzi said.

Nicki Neily, founder and president of PDE, posted to Twitter the value of FOIA requests for parents and resources for filing them.

“FOIA requests are a great way for parents to hold their child’s school district accountable,” Neily noted.

The bill, introduced by Democrat State Representative Sarah Keitt (Fairfield); Dominique Johnson (Norwalk); Cristin McCarthy Vahey (Bridgeport); and Jennifer Leeper (Fairfield) would “exclude from the definition of public record … any communication between a teacher and a student regarding sensitive subjects, such as sexual orientation, gender identity and race, that occur during school-sponsored activities.”

The bill’s purpose is “to protect public school teachers from FOIA requests.”

Another bill, H.B. 6396, An Act Protecting Educators in Teaching Certain Subjects and Topics in Schools, introduced by State Representative Christine Palm (D-Chester), would “ensure that Connecticut public school educators are able to provide instruction in a work environment that is free from harassment, intimidation or physical violence stemming from ideological differences of opinion about certain subjects or topics, including, but not limited to, gender, sexuality, race, racism and climate change.”

The Connecticut Star reached out to the four Democrats who proposed H.B. 6192 to ask how a student would be protected should a teacher take advantage of a circumstance concerning one of the “sensitive subjects” mentioned in the legislation. No immediate responses were received.

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Susan Berry, PhD is national education editor at The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Teacher Explaining Student Curriculum to Parent” by Scottish Government. CC BY 2.0.


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