88th LegislatureIssuesStatewide NewsTexas Lawmaker Files Bill to Allow Educators to Refuse CDC LGBT ‘Inclusivity Tool’

The bill focuses on a self-assessment tool that asks users to become an "awesome ally," created by the CDC for use in Texas schools.
February 27, 2023
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Rep. Terri Leo-Wilson (R-Galveston) has introduced a bill that would give protections for Texas educators who refuse to participate in LGBT inclusion training from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

House Bill (HB) 2659 would take immediate effect if it receives a two-thirds vote.

This bill aims to ensure that a school district or charter school “may not discipline, retaliate against, or otherwise discriminate against” any employee who refuses to complete the training.

The “LGBTQ Inclusivity in Schools: A Self-Assessment Tool” is at the center of this bill, a tool created by the CDC.

The protections are put in place for those with “sincerely held religious beliefs.”

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Protections are also built in for educators who refuse to implement a district or school policy that was created by the CDC.

The “inclusivity tool” is a self-assessment to be taken by educators to “address the health and academic needs of LGBTQ students.”

Included in the training is an “LGBTQ Inclusivity Continuum” meant to categorize the status of the user as either “Commit to Change,” “Beginning to Break Through,” or an “Awesome Ally.”

The questions included in the self-assessment surround the ideas of critical gender theory.

Some questions ask the user to “use a student’s chosen name in all school environments,” “advocate for LGBTQ inclusive and affirming materials,” and “work with staff in my school to identify and mark safe spaces.”

The tool includes the use of “LGBTQ-specific media” including “visual labels such as rainbow flags, pink triangles, unisex bathroom signs,” to determine whether the user is “highly inclusive.”

The Texas State Teachers Association (TSTA) is an affiliate of the National Education Association (NEA), which this month encouraged a “Week of Action” for Black History Month. A recent investigation revealed how some school employees are sidestepping the Texas Legislature’s critical race theory ban in schools.

The NEA has modules for explaining “queer identities” that give information on “ways to support students who are transitioning” and highlights the need for “racial and social justice.”

Adopting a new “expanded LGBTQ+ Training Series” made for all NEA affiliated schools, the training introduces the theories of intersectionality, strategies for “anti-bias anti-racist pedagogy, and the importance of “LGBTQ+ affirming policies and practices.”

Texas lawmakers have made parental rights in education, school choice, and banning child gender modification a priority this session.

Abbott has also been a proponent of school choice and was vocal in his support of Education Savings Accounts earlier this month.

“Parents should not be helpless, they should be able to choose the education option that is best for their child,” said Abbott.

Legislators have until March 10 to file bills, at which point voting begins. The 88th Legislative Session will end on May 29.

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Cameron Abrams

Cameron Abrams is a reporter for The Texan. After graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Tabor College and a Master’s Degree from University of the Pacific, Cameron is finishing his doctoral studies where his research focuses on the postmodern philosophical influences in education. In his free time, you will find him listening to a podcast while training for an endurance running event.