On Tuesday, the Arizona House Education Committee heard compelling and often heated testimony on Rep. Steve Kaiser’s bill, HB2161, which strengthens parental rights. The bill passed out of Committee on a party line vote.
The bill specifically “expands statutory parental rights regarding the upbringing, education, health care and mental health of a parent’s minor child.”
Liberty Elementary School Board member Paul Bixler spoke against the bill as a private citizen. Bixler, who identifies as a transgender woman, claimed the bill would increase drug abuse, drop outs, and suicides.
Adrianne Johnson expressed her concerns with the apparent loss of parental control at the hands of groups that might engage in grooming. She specifically mentioned the GLSEN organization. GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network) describes itself as an organization that “works to ensure that LGBTQ students are able to learn and grow in a school environment free from bullying and harassment.” Many parents say that the group does just the opposite, instead its Critical Race Theory- based Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and Social Emotional Learning (SEL) foundation creates division by placing children in either “oppressor” or “oppressed” categories.
Multiple parents lined-up to speak in favor of the bill. They claimed that they should not be denied information about their children. On the other side, an attorney with the ACLU argued that the bill was unnecessary and dangerous. Listen to their testimony: