anti-GSA bill passed House

Brent Finnegan -- January 31st, 2007

Continuing to track Matt Lohr’s HB1727

It tied and failed to report in the Education Committee on the 17th, sailed through committee on the 22nd (after he added the “opt in” clause) and yesterday it passed in the House. Now it’s on to the Senate.

Like the DNR says, it has “Valley support.” But it isn’t very popular on Richmond Sunlight. At the time I’m posting this, the poll reads 80 percent against it.

9 Responses to “anti-GSA bill passed House”

  1. Kai says:

    Is this the edited version, with an opt-in clause? From RichmondSunlight today:

    “E. Local school boards shall require the prior express written permission of a parent or legal guardian to be filed with the school before any student may be a member of or attend the meeting of a non-curriculum-related student organization. The written permission shall clearly evidence that the parent or legal guardian has given informed consent as to the particular student organization.”

    This is so incredibly broad, expensive, and unnecessary. Is this what ‘small government’ is all about? If my kid shows up at a chess club meeting, jazz band, or honors society, someone’s going to say, “Sorry, you have to leave because the government wants your parents’ permission.” ??

  2. Kai says:

    Sorry. I just keep thinking about this: since Lohr doesn’t want to commit to this being “anti-GSA” and the bill is written so broadly, those against this bill might choose additional language. Call it “anti-freedom of choice for students” or “pro Big Brother” or something like that. Of course, I’m not proposing to remove from the dialogue the idea the bill’s motivation isn’t related to a particular type of club – just expanding the dialogue to include these other considerations.

  3. finnegan says:

    Like I said in the comments on TND:

    You have to ask yourself: would this bill even exist if the GSA didn’t exist, or if Weatherholtz hadn’t tried to stop the GSA at HHS a few years ago?

    The honest answer is No.

  4. ktr001 says:

    No, the bill wouldn’t exist if not for the GSA at HHS. Plain and simple.

    THe wording is broad, but for good reason. As its worded, the bill isn’t going to keep a kid from participating in any activity or club — as long as mom and dad give it the a-ok! And when you look at it like that, its kind of sweet and cozy. If this were Pleasantville.

    Also, the bill isn’t asking for parents permission on band or debate or honors society, because all those activities deal with school curriculum. I guess until there’s a human sexuality class at HHS mom and dad will have to OK their kid’s attendance at the GSA.

    This bill assumes we all have Cleaver family relationships with our own families and that kids are incapable of making informed, good decisions on their own. If they don’t start making decisions for themselves in high school, when are they going to start?

  5. Adam Sharp says:

    If they don’t start making decisions for themselves in high school, when are they going to start?

    When their parents die* – although technically, under the new rules of Bush/Dobson Republicanism (2004 edition, page 26), their religious leader retains final approval.

    *If the parent is terminally ill and wishes to end her/his own life, the child is then granted full decision-making authority, provided the decision is to keep the parent alive. If not, decision-making authority passes to the state, provided the governor is pro-life and has no problem disregarding the law and court decisions (see Bush-FL, ’05).

  6. ktr001 says:

    What happens if the terminally ill parent doesn’t want to be kept alive? Are they overruled because their beliefs are wrong? If that’s the case, then maybe it’s not such a bad thing kids aren’t learning to make their own decisions — they won’t be able to exercise the products of those decisions if they’re not what the government believes anyway! Good thing I’m a devout Bokononist.

  7. KnowsAll says:

    E. Prior to middle or high school students participating in school-sponsored clubs, local school boards shall:
    1. Notify parents or legal guardians of:
    (i) the names of the clubs;
    (ii) the missions or purposes of the clubs;
    (iii) the faculty or other adult sponsors or facilitators of the clubs;
    (iv) the clubs’ planned activities;
    (v) whether the clubs are affiliated with any regional, state, or national organization; and
    (vi) any financial requirements, such as dues, for a student to join or become a member of a school-sponsored club;
    2. Either provide notice and an opportunity for parents or legal guardians to opt their children out of participation in any school-sponsored club or organization or require the prior express written permission of parents or legal guardians to be filed with the school before any student may be a member of a school-sponsored club.
    For the purposes of this subsection,
    “school-sponsored club” means a noncurriculum-related organization,
    created by the school or by the local school division
    under the sponsorship, direction, and control of the school or local school division,
    in which students may elect to participate during noninstructional periods of the school day or school year.

  8. KnowsAll says:

    As you read the above, keep in mind that the school divisions in Delegate Lohr’s district had already set in place the very requirements he is attempting to write into law, before he achieved office…
    Therefore, who is he representing?
    What he is attempting to mandate to the state is already available, if the locally elected individuals of an area believe that such policy is in keeping with their community.
    He did nothing productive as a school board member, but now as delegate he wishes to dictate policy to all school boards across Virginia… Instead of doing the work that is within his realm of authority like addressing real state issues and constituent concerns. This issue does get headlines after all and pander to his base.
    What this proposed legislation does is require the school division to notify parents what clubs are in existence, (which they already do) and the choice of whether to require the parent(s) to opt their child in, (which authority they already have) or to opt their child out. (which authority they already have)
    This bill is payment to VFF for support, nothing more, nothing less. I’ll post the VFF email alerts confirming that Lohr’s goal is to quell interest in the GSAs shortly.
    Again, this is simple pandering to a very bigoted base. Unfortunatly in this area it works…

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