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'Parents' Bill of Rights': State senators debate bill that would limit instruction on sexual orientation, gender identity | Dig In 2 It

State Senators from both parties have filed their own version of a bill called the "Parents' Bill of Rights."

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Some North Carolina lawmakers want to pass a bill that gives more involvement in their child's education and bans instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in specific grades.

The North Carolina State Senate discussed H755 this week. Lawmakers call it the "Parents' Bill of Rights." The House passed a different version of the bill three weeks ago.

The updated version requires schools to inform parents of lessons, changes at school and school resources. It also proposes limits on teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity in K-3 classrooms.

The bill the House passed did not include anything regarding classroom instruction on those topics.

"What it does, is it enumerates a lot of those things we already thought we had the right to as far as information and notifications," State Senator Michael Lee (R-09) said. "Hopefully, this will make it obvious for everyone now that it's in the bill and also more uniform overall." 

Schools would have to notify parents if their child requests a change to their name or pronoun. 

Critics of the bill compare it to the "Bathroom Bill", a since-rescinded law that required people to use restrooms matching their biological sex. Other opponents say it's similar to a controversial law Florida's legislature just passed.

"I think everybody thinks parents should be involved in their child's education, health and wellbeing. That's not controversial," State Senator Michael Garrett (D-27) said. "What I have seen online is kind of concerning that this is just Florida's 'Don't Say Gay' bill brought to North Carolina, and if that's the case, then I imagine there will be significant opposition to it." 

Garrett filed another bill called the Parent's Bill of Rights Thursday. It's similar to the bill the House passed on May 5. 

Garrett's version doesn't include anything about sexual orientation, gender identity or pronoun changes. It gives parents the right to know about school threats and requires schools to ensure classrooms have enough resources.

Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger (R-30) said the bill is not about silencing conversations about LGBTQ+ issues in school.

"There's no attempt to squelch folks from talking about things," Berger said. "There is a specific prohibition on it being a part of the curriculum in K-3 grades."

RELATED: No, sexual orientation and gender identity is not taught in NC elementary schools

Is this the new "Don't Say Gay' bill?

Both pieces of legislation ban instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3. Florida's law goes a little further. It bans instruction that is "in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards." That leaves it up to the school district to decide what's appropriate.

North Carolina goes farther than Florida in one spot. Both versions want schools to tell parents about changes to their child's mental and physical health. In Florida, that's left up to the interpretation of the school counselors to decide what to disclose. The North Carolina bill directly says schools must tell parents "prior to any changes in the name or pronoun used for a student in school records or by school personnel."

Neither North Carolina nor Florida's bills directly require schools to notify parents if a child comes out as gay to a guidance counselor or teacher.
North Carolina's version only requires notification about gender identity changes but not sexual orientation.

The NC Senate is expected to vote on the Parents' Bill of Rights bill next week. If it passes, it'd have to go back to the House because the Senate changed the version they approved earlier.

RELATED: NC bill would require schools to inform parents on lessons, limit teachings on sex and gender

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