As educators, we want all students to have the freedom to be themselves and pursue their dreams. But today, in New Hampshire and across the country, we have politicians fueling divisions among parents and educators by pushing laws that erase our history, from Selma to Stonewall, and target and punish educators for doing their jobs. They want to limit what books students can read and exclude transgender kids from healthcare, school, and sports. These politicians are exploiting lack of familiarity with LGBTQ+ students to distract us from their own failures to deliver for our families and communities.
We think that bills like SB 272 make it harder for educators to do their jobs and to be genuinely engaged with parents. Setting aside the disingenuous naming of these bills, we are not fooled by their supporters’ cruel and politically motivated tactics as they target specific populations of students.
NEA-NH President Megan Tuttle offered testimony in opposition to SB 272 today. The complete text of her testimony to the Committee can be found here:
We are deeply concerned that this bill contains overly broad language and commands a very high bar for educators to meet in situations where there may be concerns over abuse and neglect; particularly when teachers lack the training to identify such cases at that level. Coupled with the fear teachers would have of potential litigation, no wonder the Independent Office of the Child Advocate called this bill dangerously broad” and that it “could have a “chilling effect” on the relationship between children and school staff.
This bill allows a small group of parents to project their beliefs onto every other child in the public classroom, infringing on the rights of other parents and their children. When the politicians who are writing the laws don’t value the experiences of people who are different than them, we get bills like this one.