Opinion: SB 272 needs to be defeated

By TESS SUMNER

Published: 05-11-2023 6:00 AM

Tess Sumner of Danbury is a student at Newfound Regional High School.

As a society, we have come a long way in recognizing and protecting LGBTQ+ rights, but much work still needs to be done. An example of where we still fall short is SB 272, the so-called “parental bill of rights.”

Masked as a bill to help parents use their authority with their children, SB 272 is, in reality, an extremely harmful LGBTQ+ bill. It would force school staff to “out” students to their parents/guardians. This bill creates a divisive situation between parents and teachers by promoting the untrue idea that teachers don’t want to share information with parents. Teachers go to college and choose to have a career in educating the youth of America, not police the students who identify in the LGBTQ+ community.

Sadly, some students do not feel safe at home and seek refuge with a trusted adult at their school. Passing this bill would prevent students from accessing the support of those they trust, which would be harmful. No one knows their home situation better than the students themselves. It is unfair and wrong to pressure someone to reveal their personal identity to others before they feel ready to do so.

The New Hampshire Statutes under 354:A: State Commission For Human Rights, Section: 354-A:29 Right to Freedom from Discrimination in Public Workplaces and Education, states that “The general court hereby finds and declares that practices of discrimination against any New Hampshire inhabitants because of age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, creed, color, marital status, familial status, mental or physical disability, religion, or national origin are a matter of state concern, that discrimination based on these characteristics not only threatens the rights and proper privileges of New Hampshire inhabitants but menaces the institutions and foundation of a free democratic state and threatens the peace, order, health, safety and general welfare of the state and its inhabitants.” SB 272 contradicts this New Hampshire statute by threatening discrimination against a person’s gender identity and sexual orientation.

The House of Representatives already deservedly tabled HB 10, the House version of the “parental bill of rights.” SB 272 needs to be defeated as well.

SB 272 could receive a full House of Representatives vote on Thursday, May 18. Please contact your local representatives and ask them to oppose SB 272 for the well-being and safety of all the young people in New Hampshire.

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