Critics have called the Parental Rights in Education bill the "Don't Say Bay" bill because the legislation prohibits instruction related to gender identity or sexual orientation in kindergarten through third grade.
The new law, which takes effect July 1, allows parents who believe a teacher is violating the law to sue a school district for damages and attorney's fees.
Jamar Brown, co-executive director of the Texas Democratic Party, and James Dickey, CEO of JD Key Communications, join FOX 7 Austin's Rebecca Thomas to speak on the Parental Rights bill.
REBECCA: Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick wants to bring the Florida parental rights bill here to Texas. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the bill one week ago. Critics have called the parental rights and Education Bill. The don't say gay bill because the legislation prohibits instruction related to gender identity or sexual orientation in kindergarten through third grade. The new law, which takes effect July 1st, allows parents who believe a teacher is violating the law to sue a school district for damages and attorney's fees. Here to talk about this is Jamar Brown, co-executive director of the Texas Democratic Party, and James Dickey, CEO of JD Key Communications. Thank you both for being here.
JAMES: Thank you.
REBECCA: Jamarr, parental rights is very popular among GOP voters and politicians. Is Dan Patrick filing feeling rather a need by promising a similar bill, or do you feel he is pushing his reelection campaign?
JAMARR: Well, I think that they're pandering to their base as they always have done, and we've seen that in legislation over the past few years. But I want to name, particularly when we talk about parental rights in this bill. This bill isn't about parental rights. This bill is about targeting vulnerable children and vulnerable community. And that's exactly what Dan Patrick in Texas Republicans are doing. And so this isn't about parental choices. This is about targeting people who are different than they are, and that's just unacceptable.
REBECCA: James, does Texas need a parental rights and education bill? And if so, why?
JAMES: Well, sadly, we've all seen why. Over the last couple of years, one of the positive side effects of the COVID shutdowns was that people got to see firsthand what was happening in schools. And this not only is a parental rights bill, this is actually protecting vulnerable children. I would like for anyone who opposes this bill to explain what sexual instruction they think is appropriate for five-year-olds, because that's what it says and says don't give instruction on sex or gender identity to kindergarten through third grade and only talk about things that are age appropriate in other ages. And parents have a right to know what's going on. So when you have teachers administrations wanting to hide from parents, what's happening and wanting to indoctrinate children at kindergarten level about sex, which is an inappropriate conversation to have with Kindergartner, I'd love to. I'd love to hear what things they think are great to teach kindergartners about tomorrow.
REBECCA: What do you make of GOP lawmakers basically deputizing public citizens, which is kind of similar to the Texas heartbeat bill?
JAMARR: Well, I think the thing that's important to recognize in this point is this dangerous two points that I want to make. Texas Republicans have been in power for 20 years, so if they wanted to expand parental rights with real things that would help parents, they've had the opportunity to do it. They've not done it. The other piece that's important is that Texas Republicans also don't get to pick and choose what's appropriate for people's children. And so this deputized action is important because parents would think that different things are appropriate or not. And so I think that there is some science based proof that we can make sure that our children are learning what they need to learn, but also are receiving the support across their community, both in home and in schools for themselves.
REBECCA: All right, we are running out of time. James final thought?
JAMES: Yeah, this is the right thing to do, because it's because it does send the power back to the parents and the responsibility lies with those parents.
REBECCA: All right. James Jomar thank you both for sharing your perspectives with us tonight.
JAMARR: Thank you, Rebecca.
JAMES: Thank you.
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