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Parents’ Bill of Rights Moves Forward in NC Senate

kindergarten work space at school with paper, child's hands, and scissors

(UPDATE: On Thursday morning, February 2, the N.C. Senate Health Care Committee approved SB 49. The bill now proceeds to the Senate Rules Committee for consideration.)

Earlier today (Wed., Feb. 1), the N.C. Senate Education/Higher Education Committee considered and approved SB 49—Parents’ Bill of Rights, a bill designed to affirm, strengthen, and protect the rights of parents in North Carolina to take an active role in their child’s education and health care. The bill would also protect students from being confronted with inappropriate sexually-related materials and instruction in the early grades.

NC Family President John Rustin testified at the committee meeting in support of SB 49, saying, “For many decades state courts, federal courts, and this General Assembly have recognized that parents have a fundamental right to the care, custody, and control of their children. As Senate Bill 49 clarifies, this fundamental right does not end when a child enters a school building or a health care facility.”

“In fact,” Rustin said, “one of the greatest predictors of a child’s wellbeing and success is parental involvement, and this bill seeks to restore transparency and a sense of partnership and cooperation between parents and their children’s school and health care providers.”

Among other things, SB 49 would:

  • Allow parents access to review textbooks and other instructional materials upon request, along with procedures to express concerns;
  • Prohibit schools from teaching lessons on “gender identity, sexual activity, or sexuality” in kindergarten through fourth grade;
  • Enable parents to consent or withhold consent to their child’s participation in certain activities and instruction;
  • Require teachers to inform parents if their child has requested a change in name or pronouns prior to making any alterations to the student’s identity in school records or by school personnel; and
  • Require healthcare practitioners to obtain written parental consent before providing treatment to a minor child.

A similar bill, HB 755, was passed by the North Carolina Senate last summer, but failed to see action in the State House after being amended in the Senate.

SB 49, which is sponsored by Senators Amy Galey (R-Alamance), Michael Lee (R-New Hanover), and Lisa Barnes (R-Franklin), now proceeds to the Senate Health Care Committee for consideration.



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