Background: HB354 will expand the ban that was passed in 2022 by the Alabama state legislature. Existing legislation prevents classroom instruction on the topics of “sexual orientation or gender identity” “in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards” to public school students in kindergarten to fifth grade. The new law would prohibit all instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity from kindergarten to eighth grade. For students in ninth through twelfth grade, instruction would still be limited dependent on if the instruction was deemed age or developmentally appropriate.
Our Position: We oppose HB354. The ACLU of Alabama supports allowing education on inclusive topics like sexual orientation and gender identity in the classroom. The Don’t Say Gay bill in Alabama schools already prevents the education on and acceptance of LGBTQ students in classrooms. Expanding this ban from fifth grade to eighth grade and limiting the discussion of the topic in all Alabama schools walks back education in a state where there is already significant educational need. This bill will effectively rid classrooms in the state of Alabama of discussion that is essential at all stages of life.