School boards; policies concerning noncurriculum-related student organizations. (HB1727)

Introduced By

Del. Matt Lohr (R-Harrisonburg)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Local school board; student organizations. Requires that local school boards obtain express written permission from a parent or legal guardian before any student becomes a member of or attends the meeting of a non-curriculum-related student organization. The permission must clearly evidence that the parent or legal guardian has given informed consent as to the particular student organization. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


12/20/2006Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/10/07 078175382
12/20/2006Referred to Committee on Education
01/15/2007Assigned Education sub: Students and Daycare (Carrico)
01/16/2007Impact statement from DPB (HB1727)
01/22/2007Reconsidered by Education
01/22/2007Reported from Education with substitute (20-Y 1-N) (see vote tally)
01/22/2007Committee substitute printed 072366382-H1
01/23/2007Read first time
01/24/2007Read second time
01/24/2007Committee substitute agreed to 072366382-H1
01/24/2007Passed by for the day
01/25/2007Passed by for the day
01/26/2007Motion to reconsider pass by for the day agreed to
01/26/2007Amendment by Delegate Cole withdrawn
01/26/2007Committee substitute reconsidered
01/26/2007Passed by for the day
01/29/2007Read second time
01/29/2007Committee substitute rejected 072366382-H1
01/29/2007Floor substitute printed 072376382-H2 (Lohr)
01/29/2007Substitute by Delegate Lohr agreed to 072376382-H2
01/29/2007Engrossed by House - floor substitute HB1727H2
01/30/2007Read third time and passed House (82-Y 15-N)
01/30/2007Communicated to Senate
01/31/2007Constitutional reading dispensed
01/31/2007Referred to Committee on Education and Health
01/31/2007Impact statement from DPB (HB1727H2)
02/06/2007Assigned Education sub: Public Education


TerryM writes:

Alert! This is the annual attack on Gay/Straight Alliance Student Clubs or GSAs...

Linda Thomas writes:

Given the strain most school boards are under with respect to their budgets, do we really need to give them the added expense and work of creating and tracking all these permission slips over the course of the year?

This is an incredible waste of money with zero benefit.

Tim Hulsey writes:

Zero benefit, perhaps, but not zero impact. The bill is designed to discourage students and teachers from forming or attending Gay-Straight Alliances by making them prohibitively expensive to maintain and by undermining the confidentiality of their membership.

The real shame of it, is that GSAs provide real benefits to public high schools, and not just where gay and lesbian youth are concerned. We've learned that in high schools without GSA, gay and lesbian students earn significantly lower grades; what's more, they're more likely to cut classes and drop out. Although the studies are far from conclusive, the figures we have strongly suggest that gay and lesbian youth constitute an "at-risk" population.

In the era of No Child Left Behind, educators can't afford to lose these students.

Derek Myers writes:

How will we get students to respect authority when we pose silly rules like this one? It's an invitation to rebel and, frankly, I hope students do revolt because this is legislation at its most revolting. If David Brooks gave out a "silliness on stilts" award, HB 1727 would be, at the very least, a close runner-up to first place. Frivolous legislation! When are we going to get some REAL moral leadership in the GA?

Waldo Jaquith writes:

The result of this is that a bunch of students will just declare themselves the Gay-Straight Alliance and get together in the library or a corner of the cafeteria at lunch. They simply won't create a formal club, leaving the school out of the loop and -- horrors -- legislators unable to do anything about it.

David writes:

This bill would actually do the opposite of what the patron claims (and what possibly well-meaning colleagues might fall for): 'encouraging parental involvement.' In fact, the kids who are most in need of the kind of support GSAs offer are often looking for help in figuring out how to raise the topic of sexual orientation with their parents. This would only close down communication and make it less likely for such kids to confide in their parents.

It's either terribly misguided, or simply cruel. Legislators need to think through the implications and decide whether this is really the outcome they are trying to achieve.

Rev. Jonathan Heaslet writes:

How about a bill that requires Legislators to get their parent's permission before introducing legislation? And Legislators wonder why the cost of education is going up as schools are forced to comply with silly regulations such as this bill proposes!

Tom writes:

What a paperwork nightmare this bill will create for (usually unpaid) club sponsors at schools. As a teacher I want my club open to as many students as possible, but even a noncontroversial club like the science club (well, even science is controversial to some wingnuts) would have to turn some students away and the sponsor will have to check who has permission, who doesn't, etc. Bottom line--too much trouble on top of SOLs, NCLB, and all other political bull so heck with even having the club. Students lose again.

Good As You writes:

The fact that Mr. Lohr continues to present this measure and deny that it has anything to do with G-SAs is enraging! This denial leads those who aren't involved with gay rights to think the bill is simply a child-protecting measure with good intentions. It's easy to understand why citizens would think this, as on the surface, the bill seems harmless (even if unnecessary). But in actuality, denying the connection between measures like this and gay-straight alliances is simply part of the play book of those who wish to see these clubs eliminated via legislative means (as they are unable to ever successfully challenge G-SAs in court).

If folks like Del. Lohr are bold enough to threaten the safety of scared, closeted gay teens in need of a compassionate shoulder, than they need to also be bold enough to admit their true intent!!

Good As You writes:

ABOVE: than = then

Sarah (10th grader) writes:

As a student, I can safely say that this would definitely be discouraging for participation in all sorts of activities, not just GSA. As an officer of my school's Classics Club (Latin & Greek), I know that a lot of our attendance comes from kids telling their friends, "hey! I'm going to classics club after school today, want to come?" This would be totally prohibited with parental permission required. Adittionally, parents don't like signing forms all the time- whenever I come home with a new permission slip, my parents sigh. Don't attack all organizations just because you don't like one.

DeanJ writes:

How nice to see a high school student weighing in here!

How nice to see the education bills getting so much attention on this site, too. I really hope people are using the email addresses provided to make representatives aware of their opinions. I've written quite a few emails since this site launched!

DeanJ writes:

I wrote to Del. Lohr about this bill and recieved an email response. If it's not appropriate to post this, I'm sure this comment can be edited.

Needless to say, this is not very enlightening.

Thank you for your email regarding hb 1727. I am a former educator, so I know first hand about working with the clubs that meet. All this bill requires is the school assemble a packet where the clubs are listed with a description, dues, activities, etc. The parents are made aware of the clubs available and they can opt their child out if they see fit. I have yet to see where this is creating mountains of paperwork. Many school systems have a policy in place that works very well.

I appreciate your thoughts. Thanks-Matt

Delegate Matt Lohr, 26th House District
PO Box 406
Richmond, VA 23218

finnegan writes:

"...Many school systems have a policy in place that works very well."

I'm not really sure what that proves, other than the fact that schools already have parental permission systems in place, making this bill unnecessary.

DeanJ writes:

Wow...this swept through with a lot of support. 85 Y to 15 N.

Can anyone explain the parts of the history that are about a substitution?

Waldo Jaquith writes:

The events of the 29th are the substitution:

Substitute by Delegate Lohr agreed to 072376382-H2
Engrossed by House - floor substitute HB1727H2
Floor substitute printed 072376382-H2 (Lohr)

Unfortunately, Richmond Sunlight does not yet swap out the bill summary and the description when a bill substitution occurs, but you can find the new text on the LIS site.

Essentially, it's now opt-out, not opt-in. Parents have the right to prohibit their children from participating in certain clubs, which is their prerogative, after all. But they have to contact the school and let them know which clubs they don't want their kid in. Nobody's going to bother so, before long, the schools will just stop sending home the lists of clubs because it'll be a big waste of time and money. They can thank Del. Lohr for that.

JWaine writes:

For those of you interested in taking action against HB 1727, I urge you to go to the website below and contact our Senators before this hits the Senate. There is a pre-written statement you can use if you like. It is fast and easy. I've included the letter I wrote and the website below it. Thank you.


High School Teacher asks you to please vote against HB 1727

As a high school teacher in Albemarle County at Western Albemarle High School in Crozet, VA, I urge you to please vote against HB 1727. This proposed legislation would require written parental permission for non-curricular clubs.

I contest this proposed legislation for the following reasons:

The bill improperly targets gay straight alliances (GSAs), groups that promote tolerance and address school bullying and harassment.

I am the co-sponsor of our school's GSA. We meet once a week during lunch to offer a safe place WITH ADULT SUPERVISION and GUIDANCE for teenagers to meet who need a safe place to discuss and find support for any and all sexual orientations. This is NOT a sex club, nor does this club place demands on students that interferes in any way with their schoolwork. High school is hard enough. Depression runs rampant. More and more teenagers are in therapy and on medication. I argue that the more opportunities students have to talk amongst peers and adults about their lives, the less therapy and medication is needed. Also, the more support they feel exists, the less chances there are that they will commit SUICIDE -- a huge issue facing teens who question their sexual orientation.

In addition, we need to encourage our students to become independent thinkers and problem solvers. By urging parents to pass judgment upon their child's choice of club participation, you deny our young people skills that will help them later succeed in life.

I would be more than happy to discuss this issue further with any of you. Please do not hesitate to email me.

Thank you for your time and consideration of this important matter.

Jennifer Waine