‘Lots of unknowns’ about new transgender laws in Kentucky schools

Kentucky Education Commissioner Jason Glass made his remarks in his weekly message to district schools.
Published: Apr. 18, 2023 at 4:23 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Kentucky Education Commissioner Jason Glass described to school districts “lots of unknowns” regarding the implementation of new laws targeting transgender students.

The Commissioner made his remarks in his weekly message to district schools.

“There are elected officials who have made these decisions,” Glass said Tuesday. “Elections have consequences. And now we’re going to feel the effects of those and we’re going to see what happens after that.”

Districts are no longer allowed to require teachers to use a student’s preferred pronoun. There is no more classroom discussion on gender identity and sexual orientation. And transgender students cannot use the restroom matching their gender identity.

In one of the most immediate effects, 5th graders are no longer allowed to receive sex education. They will now have to wait until the next year.

“Typically, that curriculum is covered in the 5th grade because developmentally that is the time that makes the most sense,” Glass said. “It’s now going to be moved to the 6th grade so schools will have to adapt to that.”

Glass provided pages of guidance to districts on how to navigate restrictions that, in some cases, may conflict with federal regulations. Free speech and constitutional issues also top the list of long-term legal scenarios.

“We’re going to have to see how communities react to it, how the courts react to it,” Glass said. “And then, if the legislature decides they’ve overstepped, or failed to provide clarity around some aspects, we may see future cleanup legislation to correct some of the problems.”

Glass advises districts to talk to their lawyers.

“We urge you to make decisions about the questions raised collaboratively with your district council,” Glass wrote to the districts. “Some of the questions ultimately may be decided in court or by clarifying future legislation.”