The North Carolina Senate passed a bill Tuesday evening establishing rights for parents with school-aged children. The Parents’ Bill of Rights passed 29 to 18 and went to the House Tuesday. If the House passes it as well, it would go to Governor Cooper, who will likely veto it.
While no Senate Democrats voted for the Parents’ Bill of Rights, some House Democrats might. If Cooper vetoes, Republicans will need at least one House Democrat to vote with them to override.
The LGBTQ community has been critical of the bill, arguing that schools should not have to tell parents if a child changes their name on official school documents or begins widely using new pronouns. Critics found backup in some local news reports with headlines like WRAL’s “NC Senate approves bill that would require public-school teachers to out LGBTQ students”
However, bill sponsors say the text of the bill goes far beyond that and was designed to address frustration voiced by parents who say there is not enough transparency in the education system.
“The ‘Parents’ Bill of Rights’ requires that public schools inform parents of their rights and of the procedures to exercise those rights,” said Senate Education Committee Chair Sen. Amy Galey, R-Alamance. “Parents should be confident that when there is a problem, a remedy is available.”
The “Parents’ Bill of Rights” bill:
Provides a pathway for parents to request materials related to in-class instruction.
Notifies parents of the health services offered at their child’s school at the beginning of each school year.
Notifies parents of changes in the name or pronoun used by their child at school.
Notifies parents of any changes in services or monitoring of their child’s mental, emotional, or physical health.
Informs parents of their legal rights and responsibilities relating to their child’s education.
Codifies several rights parents have in education, including seeking medical or religious exemptions from immunization requirements and to have their child evaluated for an academically or intellectually gifted program, or for identification as a child with a disability.
The bill passed first reading in the House on Tuesday and was sent to the House rules committee.