NC “Parents’ Bill of Rights” would require parental notification if student uses different name or pronoun; limits instruction on LGBTQ+ people in K-3 curriculums

Introduced by Republican representatives Hugh Blackwell, John Torbett, Jon Hardister and...
Introduced by Republican representatives Hugh Blackwell, John Torbett, Jon Hardister and Jeffrey Elmore, HB 755′s stated goal is to “Establish a Parents’ Bill of Rights"(Source: Ludovic Bertron / CC BY 2.0 via MGN)
Published: May. 26, 2022 at 8:12 AM EDT|Updated: May. 27, 2022 at 4:31 AM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - North Carolina HB 755, titled “Parents’ Bill of rights,” would codify a new procedure for requesting information from the school, bar instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in K-3 curriculums and require teachers to notify a student’s parents if they wish to use a different name or pronouns.

HB 755′s stated goal is to “Establish a Parents’ Bill of Rights enumerating certain rights of parents related to the education, health, privacy, and safety of their child.”

While several parts of the bill reference rights which are already guaranteed to parents, a process is defined for requesting information from schools. Another section adds a more formal procedure for parents to submit concerns and complaints.

Alongside this, the bill would require parents to be notified of anytime school staff uses a different name or pronouns for a student.

The bill also would not allow “instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity” in K-3 curriculums. The language is similarly vague to that seen in Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill. While the text of the bill doesn’t mention gay or transgender people by name, Florida lawmakers explicitly referred to restricting even casual references to LGBTQ+ people.

K-3 teachers would hypothetically still be allowed to mention LGBTQ+ people, but it would not be allowed in the curriculum. This makes the bill, technically, less restrictive than Florida’s bill that restricts all classroom instruction on the topics.

A Trevor Project report found that the mental health of LGBTQ+ youth is significantly affected by debates around the rights of transgender people. The report states that 27% of transgender students feel unsafe at or going to or from school, 35% are bullied at school, and 35% attempt suicide.

A poll found that while roughly 72% of U.S. adults said they were confident they would be able to support and understand a transgender and/or non-binary child, but that still leaves about 28% who were not confident they could do so.

Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger claims in a WRAL article that “there’s no attempt to squelch folks from talking about things.” Governor Roy Cooper’s office told WRAL that he would review the bill.

“This legislation, if passed, would drastically and negatively impact the ability of young people to realize their full potential in a safe and welcoming learning environment,” said Charlotte Pride President Clark Simon on Wednesday. “LGBTQ young people are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers. This legislation will make this reality worse, not better.”

The NC Association of Educators also voiced its opposition.

“While we continue to review this bill, we already know much of what’s proposed is already codified in law, so this is nothing more than an attempt to solve a non-existent problem,” said NCAE President Tamika Walker Kelly on Wednesday. “Instead of working to improve school conditions and build upon positive parent and teacher relationships, this bill is designed to cast schools as places of suspicion.”

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