Media Contact

Janna Farley,

February 10, 2023

Today, senators passed Senate Bill 2231, legislation that would prohibit schools from adopting inclusive policies that acknowledge the gender identity of their students.

The ACLU of North Dakota opposes Senate Bill 2231. No one is harmed by allowing teachers, administrators and counselors to create a safe and welcoming educational environment for students in our public schools. Additionally, the decision to adopt policies that acknowledge the gender identity of students should be made by local entities – not dictated by our state legislators.

The following statement can be attributed to Cody Schuler, ACLU of North Dakota advocacy manager:

“Many schools across the country recognize that a supportive learning environment requires treating students with dignity and respect, including – at a minimum – calling them by the name and pronouns they want to use. It is important to remember that everyone is impacted by gender and everyone has a desire to be referred to respectfully. That might mean different things for different people. Regardless of how you may feel about pronouns, it is important to use the pronouns someone uses for themselves.

“For trans youth, especially those who cannot be safe at home, school may be one of the few places to be themselves. Trans youth thrive when they are affirmed in their gender identity, which includes being called by a name and pronouns that reflect who they are.

“Discriminatory bills like House Bill 2231 are motivated by ignorance, misinformation and fear. We send people to Bismarck to solve actual problems in our state, not to find ways to attack LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit people. With serious issues like our state’s workforce shortage, affordable childcare, education funding and health care, we urge North Dakota lawmakers to focus on the issues that really matter.”

About the ACLU of North Dakota

The American Civil Liberties Union of North Dakota is a non-partisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of civil liberties and civil rights. The ACLU of North Dakota is part of a three-state chapter that also includes South Dakota and Wyoming. The team in North Dakota is supported by staff in those states.

The ACLU believes freedoms of press, speech, assembly and religion, and the rights to due process, equal protection and privacy, are fundamental to a free people.  In addition, the ACLU seeks to advance constitutional protections for groups traditionally denied their rights, including people of color, women and LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit communities. The ACLU of North Dakota carries out its work through selective litigation, lobbying at the state and local level, and through public education and awareness of what the Bill of Rights means for the people of North Dakota.