North Carolina School Districts Begin Implementing Parents’ Bill of Rights

Evan Poellinger | November 15, 2023
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Guilford County Schools in North Carolina have begun to implement policies in accordance with the state’s new Parents Bill of Rights, which was passed in August. Among other things, Guilford County Schools have begun “clarifying language around parent communication related to behavior, attendance, crime, and instruction material.”

The schools will also be required to obtain parental permission before “administering medication or allowing students to take part in surveys” and before attributing a different gender identity to students. Furthermore, the schools will also desist from discussing topics related to sexuality and gender prior to fourth grade.

Despite the seemingly commonsense nature of these prescriptions, passing the Parents Bill of Rights proved to be a significant undertaking. After initially passing both chambers of the North Carolina General Assembly, Senate Bill 49 was subsequently vetoed by Democrat North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper. Cooper’s veto was subsequently overridden and the Parents Bill of Rights became law.

Evidently, Gov. Cooper objected to the bill’s provisions declaring that parents have the right “to direct the education and care of his or her child, to direct the upbringing and moral or religious training of his or her child” and “to make health care decisions for his or her child, unless otherwise provided by law.”

Alongside Guilford County Schools, other school districts in North Carolina have been working to ensure their policies fit the prescribed regulations in the Parents Bill of Rights. Due to parental concerns related to sexuality and medical treatment, schools are also giving parents the opportunity to review educational materials and even to opt their children out of particular activities that they take issue with.

Naturally, some people have taken issue with the bill, notably Democrat State Senator Natasha Marcus, who declared that the bill will “discourage teachers, make them more likely to leave the profession, and will make LGBTQ students and their families feel targeted and excluded.”

How, exactly, a policy specifically designed to facilitate parental choice would, somehow, lead to exclusion of students and parents is anyone’s guess.