Key legislative changes affecting Arkansas schools this year


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Arkansas – As the school year commences for students and teachers in Arkansas, several legislations implemented on August 1 stand to impact their environment.

Outlined below are key laws anticipated to have an effect on educational practices this year:

Act 317: Pertaining to School Policies on Overnight Trips – Commonly referred to as the “bathroom bill,” this act stipulates that students may only utilize “multiple occupancy restroom[s] or changing area[s]” which align with the gender designated on their birth certificates. For school-led excursions, students must either be lodged with others of the same birth certificate-listed gender or be allotted single-occupancy accommodations. Additionally, the law mandates that schools furnish “reasonable accommodation” for any student opting out of using multi-occupancy facilities.

Act 542: Restrictions on Pronoun Usage in Schools – Referred to as the “Given Name Act,” this regulation prohibits educational personnel from employing a student’s chosen pronouns unless receiving documented authorization from a parent or legal custodian.

Act 788: The Religious Viewpoint Antidiscrimination Act – This law obligates public educational institutions to permit students to incorporate religious perspectives in assignments such as homework, coursework, or art projects “without discrimination based on the religious content.” Such assignments should be evaluated “by ordinary academic standards of substance and relevance” and juxtaposed “against other conventional, pedagogical topics as identified by a public school district.”


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