RPSB prohibiting staff from discussing gender identity with students Pre-K through 12th grade

Rapides Parish school employees will not be allowed to discuss gender identity with any student in the classroom.
Published: Jul. 5, 2022 at 9:18 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 5, 2022 at 10:11 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - Rapides Parish school employees will not be allowed to discuss gender identity with any student in the classroom.

This comes after the Rapides Parish School Board unanimously voted at the July 5 meeting to update their policy for employee conduct.

The new policy states:

“Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in pre-kindergarten through grade 12 or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.”

During the recent legislative session, a bill, filed by Representative Dodie Horton that would have made it illegal for schools to incorporate “classroom instruction or discussion relative to sexual orientation or gender identity” in grades K-8th, was shelved.

The bill, labeled Louisiana’s “Don’t Say Gay” legislation by those who opposed it, also stated that teachers and school employees could not discuss personal sexual orientation or gender identity with K-12 grades.

Rapides Parish School Superintendent Jeff Powell said despite Rep. Horton’s bill being shelved, his board wanted to make a clear stand on education in the parish. Powell said students will still be able to talk to teachers and counselors at schools about gender identity, just not during class.

“We have resources available for them either through our counselors or our school-based health centers and even teachers or adults there that can help provide for them the direction of the resources to get what they need,” said Powell. “The intent of that motion and the policy is that it’s not part of teachers or third parties coming in to teach something that’s not on our state standards.”

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