By TRISHA AHMED Associated Press/Report for America
North Dakota’s Republican Gov. Doug Burgum has signed a bill into law that allows public school teachers and state government employees to ignore the pronouns their transgender students and colleagues use, the governor’s office announced Monday.
The new law also requires teachers to tell a parent or legal guardian if the student identifies as transgender. It also prohibits transgender students from using the bathroom of their choice without prior approval from a parent or guardian.
It is effective immediately.
Burgum said in a statement that the new law “largely codifies existing practices while reaffirming the First Amendment right to free speech … balancing the rights and interests of students, parents and teachers.”
Opponents countered that the state’s Republican leaders are violating the constitutional rights of students and teachers by compelling the speech of adults and potentially exposing children to dangerous repercussions if an abusive parent doesn’t approve.
“Mandatory outing of a student’s trans identity violates their privacy rights at school – particularly for trans youth who cannot be safe at home. And creating a supportive working and learning environment also requires treating people with dignity and respect, including – at a minimum – calling them by the name and pronouns they want to use. These are both unlawful and discriminatory practices,” said Cody Schuler, advocacy manager of the American Civil Liberties Union of North Dakota.
Supporters have said the measure boosts parental rights and brings peace of mind to teachers. Others said the governor should have done more to limit trans rights.
It’s only the latest measure relating to transgender issues that Burgum signed after they were passed by North Dakota’s House and Senate with veto-proof majorities.