Aug 19, 2023 - Education
Law changes affecting Arkansas schools this academic year
Catch up quick: Most of these laws took effect Aug. 1:
- Students may not use multiple-occupancy restrooms or changing areas not consistent with the sex listed on their birth certificate. If single-occupancy accommodations aren't available on overnight trips, they must share sleeping quarters with others consistent with their sex assigned at birth.
- The state School Board and schools cannot require a teacher or staff member to participate in implicit bias training.
- School employees are prohibited from addressing students by pronouns inconsistent with the student's sex assigned at birth unless given written permission from parents.
- Holocaust Education Week was established as the first full week of classes in January, and schools will be encouraged to teach about its history and significance.
- Public schools and open-enrollment charter schools are now required to allow at least 10 days of excused absences for both teenage parents after the birth of their child and to excuse absences related to parental needs.
- Schools will be required to teach one hour of School Board-developed curricula of adoption awareness to students in grades 6-12 — to include what adoption advocates see as its benefits to society; the reasons it's preferable to abortion; and statistical data on abortion, adoption and childbirth.
- Curriculum on breastfeeding is now required for health classes.
- A person over age 18 is allowed to be in possession of a handgun on school property when they're "on a journey." The law formerly specified that the journey had to be outside the county where the person lives.
- Discrimination against a student based on their religious viewpoints is prohibited; students can express their viewpoints in speech, writing and classwork.
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