It’s been a few weeks since these testimonies were delivered to the Alaska Legislature, but we believe it’s important to let Alaskans know exactly which public school teachers oppose parental rights in education.

Ever since Gov. Mike Dunleavy introduced House Bill 105, scores of educators have flooded multiple legislative hearings with emails, letters and in-person testimonies opposing the legislation, which requires parental notification and permission before educators discuss sexual matters – including gender identity – with students. It also stipulates that schools get written permission from parents before changing the names or pronouns schools use in referring to a child, and it bars schools from selectively withholding a child’s health information from parents. Finally, the bill aims to safeguard a student privacy by requiring schools to separate bathrooms and locker rooms based on biological sex.

While HB 105 is a long shot to become law, it did make it out of the House Education Committee, and now sits in the House Finance Committee.

The teachers, highlighted below, are but a small fraction of the total number of school employees who have vehemently opposed the governor’s attempt to strengthen parental rights. For readers who wish to review the hundreds of pages of testimony, here’s the link. Scores and scores of teachers are on record opposing the parental rights legislation.

This article highlights nine educators from Juneau, Anchorage, Kodiak and elsewhere. Some expressed open distain for parents who don’t buy into their child’s gender confusion. Whenever possible, we identify the teachers, schools and districts so parents can reach out to those with direct authority. These testimonies were given during the April 13-14 House Education Committee hearing.


CURIN MARKS: Marks teaches English at Thunder Mountain High School in Juneau. Speaking about the need to affirm LGBTQ students, she said HB 105 attacks the so-called “ally educator.” She noted that she has a gay brother, as well as a son who “transitioned” in high school.

“He sought out a safe place he needed – from an accepting understanding teacher,” she said.

Marks then suggested that God created the various gender identities that certain students now identify with, and said teachers should be empowered to encourage children to embrace their preferred sexual identity. She claimed House Bill 105 was akin to a “witch hunt” against good LGBTQ-allied teachers.

CHEYENNE CUELLAR: Cuellar didn’t identify where she works, but said she teaches reproductive health in an Alaska school. She opposed a provision in the bill that requires teachers to send out permission slips before she can talk about sexual topics with her students. Cuellar said such a policy would just take up her valuable time.

CALLIE CORNERTON: Cornerton wore rainbow colored feather earrings during her public comments.

“In my classroom we respect diversity and talk about the importance of being yourself, and being true to who you are,” she said, before then complaining that the parental rights bill “limits the empathy that I can show and discuss to my classroom.”

“The students who will be most affected are the students who need my guidance the most,” Cornerton claimed. “And it’s important to have differences represented in the classroom in a positive way.” She said this includes representing “different types of families” and gender identities, both in class and in materials.

Cornerton added that she thinks teachers should be able to keep kids safe and “not feel like we might be doing something illegal by listening to a student and being a safe person for them, particularly when people in their home lives may not be.”

JACQUELINE BACHER: Bacher has been an educator in Juneau for the past nine years. In her comments she said that “teaching is not the only thing that you do” as an educator.

“The role of a teacher is one that is very complicated,” she said, before claiming that “being a safe and trusted individual for an individual that does not have that at home is one of the most important duties that you undertake when you agree to become an educator.”

Bacher, who identifies as a “member of the LGBTQ community, stated her opposition to the fact that HB 105 would require her to get parental permission before she was able to “discuss matters of sexuality” with her students. In particular, she wanted to be able to freely discuss her LGBTQ family life with kids.

KRISTIE WALL: Wall is a recently retired kindergarten teacher in Kodiak. She expressed concern that the parental rights bill might hinder teachers’ ability to create a “safe environment” for LGBTQ students, something she claims is more important that good test scores. She opposed the legislation because it might cause teachers to “second guess” their actions.

JACOB BERA: Bera is a teacher in the Anchorage School District, where the district has an explicit policy directing educators to conceal a students gender identity and pronouns from parents they deem unsupportive. Bera claimed that schools should be focused on making transgender and gender non-conforming students comfortable. He then lauded the Anchorage districts practice that includes hiding key information from parents.

TONYA MOSER: Moser is a recently retired Juneau teacher. She claimed that the public just needs to “trust teachers,” and that “nobody is indoctrinating anyone.”

Moser then shared a story about a gender-confused student who confided in her, and she helped conceal the child’s gender dysphoria from the parents. She said HB 105 would harm kids who don’t have parents who are on board with their gender transitioning.

Moser also happens to be the parent of a child who claims to be transgender.

KRISTIN GARUT: Garut is the principal of Yaakoosge Daakahidi High School in the Juneau School District. A 25-year educator, she wants schools to teach sex education to children in 4th grade and younger.

She adamantly opposed any legislation requiring schools to get parental permission before letting gender-confused students use the bathrooms of the opposite sex. Likewise, she thinks teachers should be able to use whichever gender-specific pronouns they want when referring to kids without getting prior parental permission to do so. She said parents should not have a say in this matter, but it should be left to schools.

MAGGIE KNULL: Knull is a Juneau educator who identifies as “teacher and queer ally.”

“I was thinking of all of the students I have had this year who have come out to me,” she said. “I know that I am a safe and trusted adult, and a student is not always prepared to talk to their parents about their lives.”

She said she wants to give her students whatever advice she deems appropriate without waiting to get parental consent.

SAMUEL MARCH: March teaches at Bartlett High School in Anchorage. He claimed that “transgender youth face intese and harmful transphopia and hate from family and peers resulting in depression and self-harm.” He then said those who support HB 105 are hateful religious zealots, who are motivated by “irrational fear stoked by demagoges.”

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More Alaska teachers who want to hide students’ LGBTQ identities from parents

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.