This week, which also happens to be the sixth installment of the State House Dispatch, we are talking about some of the ways that grownups can show up for the kids in our communities. We are getting a look at the future lawmakers are building for SC kids, and now is the time for us to tell lawmakers, specifically the SC Senate, we demand better. Right now, demanding better looks like protecting public school funding, saying no to classroom censorship, and rejecting the cruelty that is forcing educators to "out" a child who confides in them about their gender identity.
Classroom Censorship is Back
This week, the classroom censorship bill heads to the Senate subcommittee. Don't forget—subcommittee is the chance for citizens to testify before lawmakers. We had just about 24 hours' notice when this bill went before the House subcommittee and about 26 concerned citizens showed up to speak against this bill. We are planning to do it again, and we want you with us:
Senate Subcommittee on Education
March 15th at 9:00am
Gressette Building Room 308
If you RSVP to join us, we will keep you posted on any logistical changes, share tips for preparing your testimony, and send details for a meeting spot prior to the hearing if you'd like to use the buddy system. And at the bottom of this post you'll find our Guide to the State House, where we've compiled all the info you need to help you make the most of your visit.
If you can't attend the hearing this week, there are still ways to be heard. You can still get in touch with your Senator and let them know how you feel about advancing a bill that would subject educators to undue surveillance and unfounded complaints and deprive students of the opportunity to learn accurate and inclusive versions of our nation's history.
Public Aid for Private Ed:
This measure aims to revise the state constitution in order to allow for public funds to be sent to private and religious schools. These schools are able to deny enrollment to students based on factors like gender, religion, disability, and more. Meanwhile, despite the ongoing funding challenges for public schools, all students have a place there. Tell your Senator that you want fully funded public schools in SC, and to vote no on the unconstitutional effort to use taxpayer funds in support of private schools.
Protect Transgender Youth:
A slate of bills aimed at denying gender affirming care to transgender youth (both minors and young adults) have been introduced this year. While they focus on preventing young people from receiving gender affirming care (the only evidence-based treatment for gender dysphoria), many bills also include provisions that would compel educators to "out" a student who confides in them about their gender identity. Schools should be places where teachers can provide kids with the care and support they need to be successful, not where they must choose between their livelihood and betraying a child who trusts them. Take action with us and tell your Senator to reject the unconstitutional bans on gender affirming care.