NC Senate passes controversial ‘Parents’ Bill of Rights’

Published 12:07 am Tuesday, February 14, 2023

SALISBURY — The controversial Senate Bill 49, commonly known as the “Parents’ Bill of Rights,” was passed by North Carolina Republicans — who hold a supermajority — in the North Carolina State Senate on Tuesday.

The bill prohibits instruction on gender identity, sexual activity or sexuality in grades kindergarten through fourth grade. It also requires schools to notify parents of any changes in the name or pronoun of a student, given there are no credible concerns about the child’s safety if a parent is notified.

The bill doesn’t “ban a student from talking about their unique family structure or asking a question. All it does is simply prohibit sexuality, sexual activity and gender identity from being part of the curriculum in those grades,” according to a press release from Sen. Carl Ford’s office. Ford (R-33) represents Stanly and Rowan counties.

The bill also includes these measures:

  • Provides a pathway for parents to request materials related to in-class instruction.
  • Notifies parents of the health services offered at their child’s school at the beginning of each school year.
  • Notifies parents of any changes in services or monitoring of their child’s mental, emotional or physical health.
  • Informs parents of their legal rights and responsibilities relating to their child’s education.

“Ultimately the parents have the final say concerning their children,” Ford said.

The bill has been met with controversy as some feel it targets and is detrimental to LGBTQ+ youth. Every Democrat in the Senate voted against it.

Donna Odrosky, a mother of a LGBTQ+ child, is against the bill and thinks it will do more damage to the LGBTQ+ community. She serves as president of the Salisbury-Rowan chapter of PFLAG, a foundation that advocates and supports the LGBTQ+ community, family members and allies. There are over 20 PFLAG chapters in North Carolina.

“I don’t agree that we need to be telling kindergartners everything, but I think we should be teaching them that we are each individuals, we are all different and sometimes we feel different than others and there’s nothing wrong with that,” Odrosky said. “Those are the things we need to be teaching our kids — is not to hate.”

She said most legislators she has talked to don’t know anyone in the LGBTQ community, so they don’t understand the issues and discrimination the community faces.

“When I’ve called legislators and people that make these decisions they don’t know a transgender person, they don’t know an LGBTQ person. They don’t,” Odrosky said. “When I ask them questions, they have no clue. And as a parent you have to know someone close to you, and until it is close to you and personal, it’s something that’s maybe taboo, when it’s not. It’s us wanting to love our child and do what’s best for our child, just like any parent would.”