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BISMARCK, N.D. (ChurchMilitant.com) - North Dakota teachers must continue to refer to students by their preferred pronouns after a bill ultimately failed to become law.
First introduced on January 12, North Dakota Senate Bill 2231 would have ensured the freedom of state employees and educators to use biologically accurate pronouns for staff and students.
North Dakota's Republican governor, Doug Burgum, who is considered conservative on fiscal issues but moderate on social ones, vetoed the bill on March 30. The same day, the Senate voted (37–9) against the veto.
But on Monday, the North Dakota House ultimately chose to sustain Burgum's veto by a vote (56–36) that failed to secure the two-thirds majority needed to override the governor's veto.
In a letter to Republican state Senate President Tammy Miller, Gov. Burgum contended the bill "infringes on local control by unnecessarily injecting the state into rare instances most appropriately handled at the parent, teacher and school district level."
But despite the governor's commentary, the bill already seemed to provide for such rare instances on a local level:
When required by federal law, a board of a school district, a public school, or a teacher in a public school may adopt a policy concerning a specific student's expressed gender or preferred pronoun if the policy is made in consultation with, and with the approval of, the student's parents or guardians. Notwithstanding this subsection, unless otherwise required by federal law, a teacher in a public school is not required to use a student's preferred pronoun when referring to the student if the preferred pronoun is inconsistent with the student's sex.
This section does not prohibit a public school teacher from using a student's preferred pronoun inconsistent with the student's sex if the teacher has consulted with, and received approval from, the student's parent or guardian and the school administrator.
The bill, some say, was less about calling on the state's government to interfere and more about preventing school districts from infringing on the free speech of teachers. The relevant section of the now-defunct bill stated:
Unless otherwise required by law, a board of a school district, a public school, or a teacher in a public school may not:
a. Adopt a policy or practice regarding expressed gender;
b. Provide or authorize classroom instruction recognizing expressed gender; or
c. Provide or require professional development recognizing expressed gender.
The bill falls under legislation the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is tracking in what it calls "anti-LGBTQ bills in the U.S." for this year's legislative sessions nationwide.
"In the last few years, states have advanced a record number of bills that attack LGBTQ rights, especially transgender youth," posits the ACLU's webpage dedicated to this project.
Regarding schools and education, the ACLU claims, "State lawmakers are trying to prevent trans students from participating in school activities like sports, force teachers to out students, and censor any in-school discussions of LGBTQ people and issues."
The ACLU map includes 449 such bills currently at various stages of progress. North Dakota has 10 or more such bills — along with Texas, Florida, Missouri and 11 other states. States with no such bills at the moment include Joe Biden's home state of Delaware, Vermont, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Illinois and Alabama.
The narrative that organizations like the ACLU are pushing — namely, that any legislation that fails to promote LGBT ideology is a dangerous attack on those who embrace the ideology — seems to be driving those dealing with gender confusion to growing violence. This false narrative of victimhood seems to be the real danger, as Church Militant recently reported.