Konni Burton

Texas State Senator Konni Burton thinks everyone is stupid. illiterate or both. Burton, you will recall, is the legislator who wants schools to be required to out LGBT children to their parents. Now the conservative Christian Burton asserts that the criticism of her and her bill is unfair and distorted.

Before I go any further, let me be clear that my criticism is based upon the fact that her proposed law is not in the best interests of children. Even with the best of parents, kids need to disclose their sexuality to their parents when — and only when — they are ready to do so. With the worst of parents, outing the child could result in violence or being kicked out of their home. Outing a kid is cruel. It is just that simple.

In a new post, Burton is a besieged victim:

Sen. Konni Burton Statement on the Misinformation Campaign on SB 242

First, you can read the text of the bill here. I encourage you to start there. Unfortunately there is a great deal of misinformation being spread about this proposed bill so it’s important to understand what is already existing state law. Please read the current state laws securing a parent’s right to know, which already include full access to attendance records, test scores, grades, disciplinary records, counseling records, psychological records, applications for admission, health and immunization information, teacher and school counselor evaluations, and reports of behavioral patterns. Let me repeat: a parent already has a right to know this information about their child in the state of Texas.

According to current law, a parent is entitled to written records. Presumably, a child could request confidentiality in a counseling session and the counselor would not make a written record. The general observations and opinions of school employees don’t necessarily result in written records.

Having explained those initial points, let me explain the course of events that led to the filing of this bill. It began with the overreach of a school district in my local community that put into place new guidelines for their transgender students. In those guidelines, the school district treated all parents as potentially dangerous and completely marginalized their role in their child’s life. Although the district’s aggressive overreach had to do with policies for transgender students, the focus of our bill has nothing to do with issues of sexuality and gender, and everything to do with how parents are treated by the government entities they fund. …

The wellbeing of parents should be secondary to the wellbeing of children. What Burton’s bill does is to add to the existing law a requirement to disclose to parents “general knowledge” possessed by any employee of the school district. Knowing this might operate to dissuade a kid from getting some important counseling or result in disclosure of his or her sexuality to parents. There is a serious and significant potential for dire consequences. There is no benefit to the child resulting from premature or involuntary disclosure.

Furthermore, the professional organizations that school counselors belong to universally require confidentiality in counseling:

The American School Counselor Association recognizes that students have “the right to privacy and confidentiality,” which “must not be abridged by the counselor except where there is clear and present danger to the student and/or other persons” (American School Counselor Association, 1999a, para. 1), an obligation that is restated in the association’s ethical code (American School Counselor Association, 1998, section A.2). The ethical codes of the American Counseling Association and the National Board for Certified Counsellors contain similar guarantees of confidentiality (American Counseling Association, 2000a, 2000b; National Board for Certified Counselors, 1997).

Burton is also full of crap. This has everything to do with sexuality (and her religious beliefs) in contrast to parental rights. I would bet that she is a proponent of reparative therapy for both gay and transgender students. Finally, there would be fewer misunderstandings if she responded to inquiries. She does not.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.