FACT vs. FICTION: “Parents’ Bill of Rights”
Democrats, media falsely depict bill supporting parental involvement, empowerment in education
Raleigh, N.C. — The “Parents’ Bill of Rights,” which cleared the Senate Rules Committee yesterday, has been falsely portrayed and attacked by Democrats and the media. This is an important piece of legislation and Democrats know that. Senate Republicans will continue to advocate for parental involvement and empowerment in education. Ahead of today’s vote on the bill, see for yourself the common misconceptions, along with the facts.
FICTION: This is a copycat of Florida’s bill.
FACT: While House Bill 755 has similarities to other states’ legislation, it is tailored to meet the needs of North Carolina parents.
FICTION: This bill prohibits discussion on LGBTQ issues and stigmatizes LGBTQ people in our schools.
FACT: The “Parents’ Bill of Rights” does not prohibit a student or teacher from mentioning their LGBTQ family members or spouses. This would not stifle that. Rather, it prohibits instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity as a part of the curriculum in kindergarten through third grade. Curriculum, as defined in the bill, includes the standard course of study and support materials, locally developed curriculum, supplemental instruction, and textbooks and other supplementary materials.
FICTION: This bill puts children’s lives at risk.
FACT: Teachers and school staff are already required by law to report to the county Department of Social Services if they suspect a child is being abused or neglected. This bill includes safeguards to prevent the disclosure of education or health records if there are credible concerns about a child’s safety. Outside of those extreme circumstances, parents have a right to know what is going on with their minor child. Schools should not be in the business of withholding information from parents. That is why this bill requires school personnel to encourage children to discuss their well-being with their parents. If parents are kept in the dark about their child’s mental and physical health, then they cannot get their child the care or support they need.
FICTION: This bill is an extra burden on school staff.
FACT: The bill puts the onus on parents to make requests, for example requesting information on the course of study or instructional materials. In those instances, staff are provided adequate time, including potential extensions, to fulfill requests.
FICTION: This bill isn’t needed because parents already have rights.
FACT: Parents do currently have rights, but navigating state law can be burdensome and confusing. The “Parents’ Bill of Rights” puts these rights all in one place, so parents don’t have to go searching for them. Additionally, this bill includes several rights that are not currently in law, such as the right to review available records of materials a child borrows from a school library. The bill also creates new notification standards, including notifying parents of changes in the name or pronoun used by their child and any changes in services or monitoring of their child’s mental, emotional, or physical health. NC Statewide Education polling shows 74% support for the disclosure of information about a child’s mental or physical health to parents.
FICTION: This bill pits parents against teachers.
FACT: This bill does not allow parents to dictate anything that happens in the classroom. It allows them to know what is happening to their children at school. Parental involvement and empowerment are fundamental to the successful education of all students. By increasing engagement and transparency, this bill strengthens the partnership between parents and teachers. Children are more successful at school when their parents are involved in their education.
FICTION: Parents don’t want to be more involved in their child’s education.
FACT: In North Carolina, 57% of likely voters support the passage of a Parents’ Bill of Rights, according to a recent Cygnal survey.