For a long time, much of what happens inside public school buildings have been in the hands of lawmakers, elected board members, and teachers. But more than ever, more parents are demanding parental rights in education. Hearing this, Republican politicians have championed these efforts, and more states are implementing parents’ bills in congress. This year, Florida has led the fight in this battle, when they passed the contentious parental rights bill, touted by some as the Don’t Say Gay law. More states are mirroring this measure, and an extensive parental rights bill in North Carolina is gaining support.
North Carolina HB 755 is being called the Parents’ bill of rights. This extensive bill goes beyond the basics of parents’ transparency in education and covers families’ ability to oversee their child’s upbringing in terms of health care and mental health. Furthermore, The Associated Press reported that the proposed law mimics Florida’s controversial new law, as it also bans LGBTQ-related class curriculums and discussions in grades Kindergarten through third.
Under the extensive parents’ bill of rights, a parent would have comprehensive control over how their child receives their education. It would allow school choice options, and give caregivers the right to access and review all educational records, making sure that teachers and staff are unable to hide possibly controversial matters from their parents. The bill also dives deep into sexual health matters.
The parents’ bill, if passed, would give parents the right to withhold their child from discussions of reproductive health and safety programs. Also, it gives them more power to seek medical or religious exemptions from immunization requirements. The text also reads that no testing, sampling, or storage of biomedical or DNA material from a child can be performed without parental consent.
Going further into rights of transparency, the parents’ bill would allow parents to review state educational testing data. Furthermore, it gives parents the right to inspect all textbooks and curricula material their children are given in class. And other than barring gender and sex discussions in grades Kindergarten through third, it would also require schools to notify a parent immediately, if their child expresses that they wish to adopt a different pronoun.
Democratic lawmakers in North Carolina berated the parents’ bill of rights. Many pointed out a huge redundancy with much of the proposal’s text, citing that parents already have the right to explore what their children are learning about in public schools. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, showed disapproval for the measure, claiming it was merely a “political ploy.”
But regardless of whether or not parents are already given many of these rights in the transparency of public education, many lawmakers feel that this measure is needed, as more and more cases across the country expose controversial happenings inside classrooms. Pat Blackburn, a representative with the advocacy group Moms For Liberty, said the measure was needed, as public schools, “broke our trust,” as she put it, speaking with the senators in support of the parents’ bill of rights.
Moving forward, the parents’ bill received Senate committee approval on May 25th. It will now head to one more committee, before going before a vote in the full chamber of congress. If it makes it to the Democratic governor’s desk for signage, he will likely veto the bill. But if it receives enough override votes in the chambers, it will be able to become law in North Carolina.