New Kentucky laws set to take effect ahead of 2023-2024 school year

WAVE News break down key Kentucky laws that go into place once the 2023-2024 school year starts.
WAVE News break down key Kentucky laws that go into place once the 2023-2024 school year starts.(WAVE)
Published: Jul. 9, 2023 at 10:32 PM CDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) -The countdown for the first day of school is underway.

Just one month from today, JCPS students will return to their classrooms with a lot of changes on the way for the 2023-2024 school year.

As students across Kentucky get ready to go back to school, there are some new laws and changes that parents and teachers should look out for.

One of the new laws going into place is House Bill 538.

This bill will require a local board of education to expel a student for at least a year if they make threats that pose a danger to other students or staff.

It also requires disciplinary actions for a student who assaults another student or staff off school property, as well as giving a local board the ability to place a student in an alternative education setting in lieu of expulsion.

It is unclear how this will impact JCPS students, as the district currently doesn’t expel students.

Another new change is the implementation of the controversial State Bill 150.

The bill was originally vetoed by Governor Andy Beshear, but he was overridden by the Kentucky Legislature.

The Kentucky Department of Education released guidance for districts across the commonwealth, which includes the use of pronouns and the use of bathrooms by transgender students.

Under the bill, teachers will not be required to use students’ requested pronouns.

Schools can also no longer allow transgender students to use restrooms, locker rooms, or shower rooms that are reserved for students of a different biological sex than theirs.

Instead, schools have to provide the “best available accommodation” to students who don’t identify as their biological sex and also have consent from a parent or guardian.

The teaching of human sexuality and sexually transmitted diseases will also see a change this year.

Students in fifth grade and under will no longer learn about human sexuality and sexually transmitted diseases.

For those in sixth grade and up, they will need parental consent to learn about human sexuality and sexually transmitted diseases and alternative class work must be provided for those students whose parents chose for them not to opt in.

Parents must also be made aware of any health or mental health services related to human sexuality, contraception, or family planning available at the school and be given an opportunity to withhold consent or decline any of those services.

School personnel must make a referral for parental consent for a student to receive a school’s health or mental health services, and no school district can keep any student information confidential from parents.

In June, JCPS Superintendent Marty Polio was asked about the implementation of the new legislation, and he said he will refer to the KDE.

“Every single year when statutes are passed, we get guidance from the Kentucky Department of Education on how we need to implement this, so we follow the Kentucky Department of Education,” Polio said.

JCPS has a school board meeting planned for Monday, July 10 where they say they will discuss the implementation of Senate Bill 150.