INDIANAPOLIS – An Indiana bill that requires schools to notify parents if a student asks to change their name or pronouns has been passed by state representatives and will now head to the governor’s desk.

The bill

House Bill 1608, dubbed the “Education Matters” bill by author and State Rep. Michelle Davis (R-Whiteland), was co-authored by three other state representatives as well as three state Senators, all Republicans.

The bill requires that no educator or third party may teach human sexuality to any Hoosiers in pre-kindergarten through third grade. However, the bill stipulates that educators are not banned from answering questions about human sexuality asked by students.

The more contentious part of the bill involves student pronouns and whether schools are required to inform parents of a student’s change in pronouns.

“Requires a school to notify in writing at least one parent of a student, if the student is an unemancipated minor, of a request made by the student to change the student’s name or pronoun, title, or word to identify the student,” HB 1608’s summary reads.

Previous developments

House Bill 1608 was passed by House Republicans in February and was passed in the Senate education committee in March along party lines, with Republicans voting in favor of it and Democrats opposed.

“Parents should not be cut out of the decision-making, and schools should not shield a parent from knowledge about their child,” State Rep. Michelle Davis (R-Whiteland) told the committee last month.

An amendment was approved on March 22 that would require parental notification of any name change or nickname request, regardless of whether the student wants to change their gender identity.

The bill also requires parental consent for a student to be called by a different name or pronouns. And it blocks teachers from being disciplined for not abiding by a parent and student’s request due to their religious beliefs.

HB 1608 passed in the Indiana Senate on April 10 after several failed amendments to the bill. The vote was 37-12 in favor.

Moving forward

On Monday, HB 1608 was scheduled for a concurrence vote in the House. During the vote, House leaders discussed changes made to the bill.

The vote passed 63-28 and will now head to Gov. Eric Holcomb’s desk for him to look over.

For more information and our previous coverage of HB 1608, click here.