Lawmakers consider ban on teaching about gender identity

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - South Dakota lawmakers will consider banning public school teaching on gender identity in elementary and middle schools, a push that critics say is similar to some states limiting the positive portrayal of homosexuality in the classroom.

Nathan Smith, public policy director at GLSEN, a national group, says the state would be the first to block instruction on gender identity or gender expression.

The bill would cover public school students through seventh grade. A spokeswoman for the state Department of Education says she's not aware of any schools currently addressing gender identity.

Republican Sen. Phil Jensen, the bill's sponsor, says he has constituents concerned it might become an issue.