N.C. State Senate passes ‘Parents’ Bill of Rights’

The vote passed 29-18 and says teachers must notify parents if a student wishes to change their name or pronoun for school records.
A bill that passed through North Carolina's Senate bans teachers from talking about sexuality in grades K-4.
Published: Feb. 8, 2023 at 10:17 AM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - On Tuesday, the North Carolina State Senate passed a bill called the ‘Parents’ Bill of Rights,’ which focuses on censoring teachers from talking about sexuality in grades K-4, and making it mandatory for teachers to notify parents if a student wishes to change their name or pronoun for school records.

This bill also states a teacher must allow parents the right to review course materials and books their children check out of the school library. Teachers would only be able to respond to questions about gender and sexuality if a student asks.

Vickie Sawyer (R), the North Carolina Senator of District 37, said she’s in favor of the bill. Many senators who support it argue parents are the primary decision-makers with respect to their minor children, not the school.

“I mean I’m a mom, and if my kid is going through that emotional stress and the school hides that from me I’m gonna be upset, because that’s assuming that I won’t be loving or welcoming of my child if she chooses to be transgender. That’s assuming that I would treat her differently,” said Sawyer.

Sarah Mikhail, an LGBTQ activist and the executive director of Time Out Youth, said she commonly sees children and teens bullied or abandoned by their families after coming out.

“Sixty percent of queer youth grow up in un-affirming homes. I really worry about taking away another outlet for a young person to explore who they are with safety and taking away their autonomy to talk to their family about it when they are ready,” Mikhail said.

Mikhail said this bill can cause more harm than good.

“A lot of our children 18 to 24 we are helping to find housing came out and were kicked out of their home and now they are set back in life and we’re helping to create their housing. If a young person is gay, or queer, or trans that’s not influence. That’s who they are. So taking away their ability to talk about it out of fear will only damage them. I truly worry that this a life or death situation for young people,” says Mikhail.

Proponents like Sawyer said the bill addresses that issue.

“Of course, there are those outliers where they’re gonna have issues, but the bill also addresses that. If the school absolutely fears abuse or something from the home isn’t right, there are proper channels to go through. But don’t assume that me as a parent is going to treat my child any differently if they tell me they are gay, straight, or trans,” Sawyer said.

Now that the bill has passed the Senate, it will go to the House where they will discuss making any changes to it or vote on it as is.