By L.A. Williams
Christian Action League
May 27, 2022
North Carolina students in primary grades will not be subjected to lessons about sexual orientation or gender identity if lawmakers pass House Bill 755 – An Act to Enumerate the Rights of Parents to Direct the Upbringing, Education, Health Care and Mental Health of their Minor Children.
Nicknamed the Parents’ Bill of Rights, the nine-page proposal introduced by Republicans on Tuesday won approval Wednesday from the Senate Education Committee and was approved by the Senate Healthcare Committee on Thursday. In addition to keeping gender identity out of the kindergarten through third-grade curriculum, the bill would require that parents be notified if their children seek to use a different pronoun to describe themselves at school. Among other provisions, parental permission would be required before students could get counseling or non-emergency medical care.
“God’s word tells us that ‘children are a heritage from the Lord,’ and instructs us to ‘train up a child in the way he should go,’” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “No matter the setting in which children are educated, the responsibility to raise them properly rests on parents. And parents can’t do that unless they know what’s going on in the classroom and can protect their young ones from having to hear about issues like transgenderism.”
Several lawmakers cited online learning during the Covid pandemic as the catalyst for more parental involvement in schools, explaining that once parents saw what their children were being taught many were concerned and began demanding increased access to textbooks and other materials as well as clearly defined processes to file complaints or to opt out of inappropriate lessons, both of which are addressed in the bill.
“This is an issue that parents all across the state have been concerned about,” Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger told the media. “They are worried about things that they have seen.”
Some Senate Democrats called the proposed law an attempt to censor classroom speech. In an emailed statement released Wednesday, Gov. Roy Cooper compared it to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill and to North Carolina’s so-called Bathroom Bill.
But speakers from Moms for Liberty, a conservative parents’ rights organization, told senators in Wednesday’s Education Committee hearing that they support the bill and will be noting who votes for it before they go to the polls in November.
Sen. Deanna Ballard (R-Watauga) said the bill “empowers parents to play an active and present role in their child’s schooling.”
“Parents are their child’s best advocates,” she said.
Similarly, House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) told the media that “parents have a right to know what’s happening.”
“There needs to be transparency and there need to be opportunities and mechanisms where parents have the opportunity to make sure their students are receiving the kind of instruction they believe is appropriate,” Moore said.
The bill is now in the hands of the Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate. If it comes to a floor vote and clears the Senate, it would still have to win approval in the House before being sent to Gov. Roy Cooper.