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Ozarks residents speak out against proposed bill targeting LGBTQ students in Missouri schools.

Protest organized by the Springfield Party of Socialism and Liberation against House Bill 134 at Park Central Square
Ryan Smith
Protest organized by the Springfield Party of Socialism and Liberation against House Bill 134 at Park Central Square

SB 134 would prohibit school officials from withholding information about a student's gender identity from parents.

Protesters recently took to Park Central Square in Springfield to oppose Senate Bill 134. Among other things, the bill would ban school staff from discussing gender identity and sexual orientation with students.

Senate Bill 134 was proposed February 7 by Republican State Senator Mike Moon of Ash Grove.

In March of last year, Florida passed a billsimilar to Missouri’s proposal. But Florida’s law only bans the discussion of gender identity and sexual orientation from Kindergarten through third grade, while Moon’s proposal goes further.

In early February, Moon told the Associated Pressthat the bill is about protecting vulnerable children and making sure parents’ wishes are paramount.

Opponents fear it could have negative consequences for young LGBTQ people.

Springfield resident Boone Cornet attended the protest. Like several similar protests in the past year, the event February 20 was organized by the Springfield Party of Socialism and Liberation.

"An outrage…They are literally trying to erase us, and I don’t see how that is plausible," said Cornet. "We're here, and there are still going to be gay kids in school everywhere. More than they
think, too."

Autumn Reynolds was another person at the event to protest HB 134.

"Another scary proposal in this bill is that it would require teachers to alert parents if their kid has come out to them It would require the teachers to out the kids to their parents. And for a lot of kids that can lead to very dangerous situations. Not everyone has super supportive parents, so that can lead to increased violence."

The week before the protest, the bill made it through the Missouri Senate Education and Workforce Committee.

SB 134 is one of at least 27 bills targeting LGBTQ communities filed this year by Missouri lawmakers. That’s according to a January story by the Kansas City Star that cited information from the ACLU.

The ACLU foundMissouri led the nation in these types of bills -- with Texas coming in second with 15 similar proposals.