As lawmakers consider expanding protections for students and parents; “Let me be perfectly QUEER” and “Say Gay” attire and merchandise are sold by Alabama Charter School

Protestors in support of transgender rights rally outside the Alabama State House in Montgomery, Ala., on Tuesday, March 30, 2021. (Jake Crandall/The Montgomery Advertiser via AP)

Alabama lawmakers are poised to pass a second bill before the end of this year’s legislative session, protecting and expanding parental rights within the state education system. The bill would expand the grades covered by the 2022 bill that reads in part, “An individual or group, of individuals providing classroom instruction to students in kindergarten through the fifth grade at a public K-12 school shall not engage in classroom discussion or provide classroom instruction regarding sexual orientation or gender identity in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.

In determining age or developmental appropriateness. local education agencies may consider, but not be limited to, the Alabama Core Teaching Standards, Rule 290-3-3.04. or any derivation thereof, and the Alabama Educator Code of Ethics.

(a) A violation of this subdivision which results in any local education agency employee, who holds an Alabama certificate or license, being terminated, non-renewed, resigning, being placed on administrative leave, or receiving any other disciplinary action shall be reported to the State Superintendent of Education in accordance with the provisions o f Rule 290-3-2.04 or other law pertaining to the revocation or suspension of certificates and unsuitability determinations.

One school in Alabama serving students 6-12 grade has made it clear that such instruction is not only permitted but is promoted on campus.

Magic City Acceptance Academy, a school hailed by its founders, is a first-of-its-kind charter school emphasizing what they describe as an “affirming” environment for LGBTQ students. According to their website, The Magic City Acceptance Academy facilitates a community in which all learners are empowered to embrace education, achieve individual success, and take ownership of their future in a brave, LGBTQ-affirming learning environment.” The school’s charter was approved after three prior state and local denials in a meeting in which its approval was not on the agenda and did not follow the state’s ordinary process. 

Magic City Acceptance Academy is promoting a store on its home page with attire and merchandise solely focused on sexual orientation and gender ideology. 

“Say Gay” shirts which are specifically intended to promote the repeatedly debunked nickname given to bills passed to protect parents’ and students’ rights are heavily promoted as are shirts that say, “Let me be perfectly QUEER” and onesies for infants and toddlers who are committed to be future LGBTQ allies as a “Future Student”. 

While Alabama’s liberal media outlets and those opposed to the bill continue to wrongly characterize the bill that passed in 2022 and this year’s expansion, HB 130 by Representative Mack Butler as Alabama’s “Don’t say gay” courts have continued to side with parents and lawmakers that the law does not discriminate against students or educators based on their sexual preferences, gender or supposed gender identity. This year’s bill will expand the grade levels covered by the bill from ending at fifth grade to going up to twelth although sources tell Alabama Today compromise language may be introduced to expand to students up to eighth grade. 

PBS reported last year, that in a case against the state of Florida for their bill, U.S. District Judge Wendy Berger judge said, “Plaintiffs have not directed this Court to any fact that would lead a reasonable person to believe that the law prohibits students from discussing their families and vacations at school or even on a school assignment, or that it would prohibit a parent from attending a school function in a ‘pride’ t-shirt or generally discussing their family structure in front of other people.”

Florida settled with opponents of the bill by issuing clarifying language to confirm that contrary to the false accusations from media and opponents, the bill did not prohibit students or teachers from any of the activities that opponents claimed, including nothing that would prohibit anyone from saying gay.

Similar laws are in effect in Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina and South Dakota.