FIRST ON FOX: Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas is dropping a new bill taking aim at public school policies that “subvert parental authority” when it comes to students’ gender identities and gender changes.
Cotton is introducing the Empower Parents to Protect Their Kids Act on Thursday to address numerous U.S. public school “policies to allow students of any age to change their name, pronouns, gender identity and even sex-based accommodations (e.g. locker rooms) without parental notice or consent,” according to a bill summary exclusively obtained by Fox News.
“Schools should work with parents to support kids,” Cotton told Fox News in a Thursday email. “But when it comes to ‘gender transition,’ many educators believe they know better and have undermined or even outright lied to parents about their own children’s welfare.”
“That’s wrong – my bill will help moms and dads fight back against schools that try to take away parents’ responsibility for their children,” the senator continued.
The summary points to New Jersey state policy stating a “school district shall accept a student’s asserted gender identity” without requiring “parental consent” as well as the Madison, Wisconsin, school district’s policy that disallows school staff sharing “any information that may reveal a student’s gender identity to others, including parents or guardians.”
“These policies subvert parental authority and subject children to an experimental psychological intervention that has a high likelihood of changing their life path,” the summary reads. “Schools should never be allowed to infringe upon the sacred bonds of family life and confuse children.”
Legislatively, Cotton’s bill would stop federal funds from going to public schools if they do not follow three “requirements regarding minor students”: obtaining “parental consent before facilitating a student’s gender transition in any way,” not withholding “information from parents or coerce students to withhold information from their parents about their purported gender identity,” and not pressuring “parents or students to proceed with any specific treatment for gender dysphoria.”
In addition to barring taxpayer dollars from going to public schools that do not comply with the requirements, the bill would establish a “private right of action to empower parents to enforce these policies in court, with attorney’s fees granted to the prevailing plaintiff.”
The new legislation would also require schools to give parents a copy of their policies to parents as well as publish said policies on school websites, and report their compliance to the secretary of education.
Houston Keene is a reporter for Fox News Digital. You can find him on Twitter at @HoustonKeene.