Tom Cotton Says Schools Must Stop Hiding Children’s “Gender Transitions” From Parents

( On Thursday, Republican Senator Tom Cotton introduced the Empower Parents to Protect Their Kids Act, the purpose of which is to prevent schools from performing a “gender transition” on children without their parents’ knowledge or consent. The bill would also give parents a “private right of action” to empower parents to enforce the policies in court should a school violate the Act by hiding or withholding information about their child’s “transition.”

In a statement on Thursday, Senator Cotton reiterated that schools should never be allowed to impose “radical, harmful ideologies on children,” but especially without the consent or knowledge of the child’s parents. The Empower Parents to Protect Their Kids Act, Cotton said, would both protect the students and ensure parents remain in control of their children’s education.

Schools should be institutions of education, Cotton explained, not indoctrination camps where children “are manipulated and brainwashed.”

Under the bill, employees of any elementary or secondary school which receives federal funding must abide by three requirements regarding minor students. They must receive parental consent before facilitating a student’s gender transition. They cannot withhold information from parents or coerce students to withhold information from their parents about their alleged gender identity. And they cannot pressure parents or students to proceed with a gender transition.

Cotton’s bill has already received the support of the American Principles Project, Heritage Action, the Ethics and Public Policy Center, and Parents Defending Education Action.

In defending the need for such legislation, Cotton cited two of the most egregious examples of public schools adopting radical policies allowing students of any age to change their name, pronouns, gender identity, and even sex-based accommodations without notifying parents.

The statewide policy in New Jersey requires a school district to accept a student’s asserted “gender identity” without notifying the parents or getting the parents’ consent. In Madison, Wisconsin, the school district policy states that no school staff can disclose any information that may reveal a student’s gender identity to others. And the “others” includes the student’s parents or guardians.