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State Senate Committees Pass “Parents’ Bill of Rights”

This week, the N.C. Senate Education and Health Care Committees passed an amended version of HB 755, originally called Academic Transparency and now entitled Parents’ Bill of Rights. This bill would affirm, strengthen, and protect the rights of parents in North Carolina to take an active role in their child’s education and health care, while also shielding students from instruction that is not age-appropriate.

Among other things, the bill would:

  • Prohibit schools from teaching lessons on “sexual orientation or gender identity” before the fourth grade
  • 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 official records
  • Allow parents access to textbooks and other instructional materials upon request, along with procedures to express any concerns
  • Require healthcare practitioners to obtain parental consent before providing minors with treatment of any type —except in suspected cases of abuse or neglect.

NC Family President John L. Rustin testified in support of HB 755 before the Senate Health Care Committee this morning, saying “Parents have a fundamental right to the care, upbringing, and education of their children. Unfortunately, we are seeing too many instances these days where the interests of parents and families are being overlooked, ignored, and even condemned.”

“This bill will help to ensure that the rights and interests of parents are not only acknowledged, but also followed, especially in the areas of education and health care,” Rustin continued.

Critics claim that bills of this nature punish teachers for incidental discussion of controversial topics; however, HB 755 only makes references to the official, school-sponsored curriculum, which includes “standard course of study and support materials, locally developed curriculum, supplemental instruction, and textbooks and other supplementary materials.” According to Phil Berger, the President Pro Tempore of the North Carolina Senate, “there’s no attempt to squelch folks from talking about things. There is a prohibition on it being a part of the curriculum in K through third grade.”

HB 755 now heads to the Senate Rules Committee.

NC Family will keep you updated on the progress of this legislation. For more information about parental rights and the status of similar legislation across the country, check out the article “Fighting for Fundamental Rights” in the latest edition of Family North Carolina magazine.


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