Advocates Declare “Victory for Questioning and LGBTQ+ Students”
CONCORD, NH – Today, the New Hampshire State House voted 195-190 to defeat SB 272, a so-called “parental bill of rights” that would have required forced outing about students who are questioning or part of the LGBTQ community.
“Questioning and LGBTQ+ students can breathe a sigh of relief today that schools in New Hampshire will continue to be places where they can safely be who they are,” said Linds Jakows, Founder of 603 Equality. “State Representatives did the right thing and listened to the voices of LGBTQ+ teens, especially closeted teens with unsupportive families. New Hampshire schools must remain places where all students, including LGBTQ students, can live free and learn.”
Statements from LGBTQ+, public education, and child welfare advocates:
“Today the House reaffirmed our New Hampshire’s bedrock values of freedom and fairness for all,” said Chris Erchull, Attorney at GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders. “We’re grateful to the legislators who carefully considered SB 272, heard the stories of LGBTQ youth and their families, and concluded it is an unnecessary and dangerous bill that singles out transgender and gender nonconforming students for targeted surveillance. Parents already have opportunities to partner with schools on the education of their children, as they should. Rejecting legislation that would take away important sources of safety and support from kids is the right move for New Hampshire.”
“We are overjoyed that the New Hampshire House stood up for keeping public schools places where all Granite State students can feel safe by voting down SB 272,” said Deb Howes, President of AFT-New Hampshire. “We shouldn’t be adding ‘informant’ to teachers’ job descriptions. Teachers don’t want to be enlisted in culture wars. They want to be there to support all students when students need it. It’s up to the Legislature to support our students, parents, teachers and public schools, not put them in a position of surveillance.”
Rev. Heidi Carrington Heath, Executive Director, NH Council of Churches, said, “The defeat of SB 272 today is a faithful move to support all of New Hampshire’s students, particularly LGBTQ+ students who are especially at risk. We believe every child is made in the image of God and deserve access to spaces and places where they can thrive. Ensuring students can engage in sacred conversations about identity on a timeline of their own choosing allows that to happen. The parent-child relationship is built on trust, and not unnecessary interference.”
“We thank the members of the House who once again voted against advancing this harmful legislation, which would have unfairly targeted and discriminated against LGBTQ+ youth in New Hampshire,” said Courtney Reed, Policy Advocate at the ACLU of New Hampshire. “Granite State students should not have to fear being themselves at school and deserve to be able to talk about their identities when and if they are ready. In New Hampshire, all students belong–and we thank lawmakers for reinforcing that value today.”
Erin George-Kelly, Director of Youth Services with Waypoint said, “Today the New Hampshire House stood up for children when it refused to pass a harmful bill, SB 272. People may assume that establishing something called a “parents’ bill of rights” means connecting loving, caring, and supportive parents with what is occurring within their child’s educational setting. However, the reality is that the passage of this bill would have put some of LGBTQ+ children in danger of neglect and abuse at home, or of homelessness because their parents do not approve of or accept their sexual orientation or gender identity. New Hampshire’s youth deserve better and today we are thankful the House voted to defeat SB 272.”
“We applaud House members for sending a strong message today that LGBTQ+ students belong in New Hampshire and in our schools,” said Sarah Robinson, Education Justice Campaign Director with Granite State Progress. “This vote is exactly in line with school board election and town meeting results across the state, where voters have overwhelmingly rejected attacks on LGBTQ+ students and instead supported the freedom for every student to have a safe, affirming learning environment.”
“We are delighted that a bipartisan majority of Representatives saw this bill for what it truly was – an attempt to target LGBTQ+ students and educators – and voted to defeat it. SB 272 would have poisoned the trusting relationship parents and educators have cultivated in New Hampshire and put our LGBTQ+ students at risk. We are pleased with today’s vote,” said Megan Tuttle, NEA-New Hampshire President. “As educators, we want all students to have the freedom to be themselves and pursue their dreams,” said Tuttle.
“Today, we won because LGBTQ teens and young adults told their most personal stories to the New Hampshire House – and representatives listened,” said Erika Perez, Political Director, New Hampshire Youth Movement. “Today, representatives saw this bill for what it always was, a false frame designed to target LGBTQ+ youth.”
“We’re all breathing a sigh of relief today that schools will remain safe for New Hampshire’s LGBTQ+ youth,” said Jessica Goff, Community Outreach and Education Coordinator with Seacoast Outright. “We thank every representative who voted for students to freely express who they are.”
“The health and well-being of our state’s LGBTQ+ youth is safe today because representatives refused to play into a false frame that would have allowed parents to sue individual teachers – with no limit to how long after the student has left the school,” said Liz Canada, Advocacy Director of Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund. “We thank all legislators who protected the lives and futures of LGBTQ teens by voting down SB 272.”