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New Bill Would Prohibit Schools From Forcing Teachers to Use Students' Preferred Pronouns

AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

A new bill in Arkansas would prohibit schools from forcing teachers to address students by “preferred pronouns,” meaning pronouns that align with their “gender identity” instead of their biological sex. 


Under H.B. 1468, teachers would not be penalized for “misgendering” a student if they do not use their pronouns.

“You cannot force a teacher or a state employee to use whatever somebody believes, thinks, or wants as a pronoun,” Arkansas state Rep. Marcus Richmond, a Republican, told 5 News Online. He added that for students with language barriers, the concept of “preferred pronouns” could be confusing for them. 

"When you start changing the rules— which is what it looks like for me, then it's going to be impossible for somebody who comes here to pick up English as a second language. So there are rules and words. Our language, a lot of times, the meaning is built into the context in which, how it's used."

TVH11 noted that the rule change would impact any public school or school district, any open-enrollment public charter school, and any state-support institution of higher education.

Jerry Cox, director of the Family Council, told KAKE that he supports the bill because “teachers and students do not surrender their First Amendment rights just because they walk through the doors of a school building.”

“I would ask the people that oppose the bill to consider the fact that tolerance is a two-way street,” state Rep. Wayne Long, a Republican, said, according to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette. “And I think it would be good policy for everyone to tolerate the people that have a deeply held religious conviction regarding this matter.”


This month, Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) announced a bill that would require students to have permission from their parents before taking a sex education class, joining a program or club related to gender, and changing their preferred name and pronouns at school. A press release from Dunleavy’s office noted that these parameters would protect parents’ rights in education. 

“There should never be a case where a parent sends their kids to school, and the child comes back having discussions about things they’ve learned in school that may be a sensitive issue or an affront to a parent’s values,” Dunleavy said at a press conference, according to Alaska Public Radio.

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