Legislation Bans Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation from K-3 School Curriculums
By L.A. Williams
Christian Action League
June 3, 2022
The North Carolina Senate on Wednesday voted to ban gender identity and sexual orientation from the K-3 curriculum and to give parents more information about what goes on in their children’s classrooms.
Introduced by Republicans last month and dubbed the Parents’ Bill of Rights, House Bill 755 passed 28-18, garnering the support of just one Democrat (Sen. Ben Clark of Cumberland County). It is expected to win concurrence in the House, but will likely be vetoed by Gov. Roy Cooper.
The measure would require schools to inform parents if children asked to be called by a different name or pronoun in school and would allow parents to review materials used in class and ensure that they have a mechanism to file a complaint if they find them objectionable. It would also require school administrators to alert parents about matters relating to their children’s “mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being.”
The bill sparked heated debate Wednesday on the Senate floor, where Democrats said it was unnecessary and would be unfair to LGBTQ youth. Sen. Michael Garrett (D-Guilford) went so far as to call it “state-sanctioned bigotry,” and protestors in the Senate gallery interrupted proceedings with shouts of “We’re here; we’re queer; we’re not going anywhere.”
Sen. Michael Lee (R-New Hanover) made it clear that the bill does not prohibit discussion of sexual orientation if it comes up in the classroom. It simply can’t be taught as part of the curriculum.
“If you’re doing family trees and someone has two moms or two dads, it can be discussed,” Lee said. “But it can’t be embedded in the curriculum. That’s not something we teach 5-, 6-, 7- and 8-year-olds … that’s not bigotry in a bill. That’s what’s appropriate for 5-, 6-, 7- and 8-year-olds.”
Gov. Cooper has called the measure a “political ploy” and part of what he termed the “Don’t Say Gay culture wars” in reference to Florida’s recently approved and more restrictive law as well as similar legislation under review in more than a dozen states.
But the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, said the bill is needed and that parents’ rights and responsibilities for the upbringing of their children do not stop at the schoolhouse door.
The Senate’s passage of House Bill 755 came just days after it was revealed that children in a Wake County pre-school class were being taught their colors via the use of “Rainbow Families Flash Cards,” each of which features a gay or lesbian couple with children including one depicting a pregnant man.
Sen. Ralph Hise (R-Mitchell) told fellow lawmakers that he is shocked at times to realize what bills are necessary.
“I could not have fathomed a few weeks ago that someone would think the best way to teach colors in pre-kindergarten is to show cards with a mythical pregnant man on them. That’s how they teach colors. There is no such thing as a pregnant man,” he said. “It’s a little strange that I have to explain that.”
Hise pointed out the incongruity in the Democrats’ position against the bill.
“Now we’ve seen the other side move from ‘It takes a village’ to ‘It’s going to take a village, and we’re going to exclude the parents,’” he said.
State Superintendent Catherine Truitt released a statement Wednesday supporting HB 755.
Truitt said, “Since becoming Superintendent, parents have made it clear that they have a desire to be more involved in their child’s education and more engaged in classroom discussions. This legislation is an important way to bring this to fruition, as it informs parents of their options so they can best determine how to advocate for their child. I support the Senate’s version of the legislation as it promotes key principles like transparency and communication between parents and schools, and I look forward to seeing this work its way through the legislative process.”