RALEIGH, N.C. (WGHP) — One of the top elected officials over education has asked lawmakers to delay parts of the new “Parents Bill of Rights” to give schools more time to implement changes required by the law.
Senate Bill 49, called the “Parents Bill of Rights,” passed earlier this summer despite a veto from Gov. Roy Cooper, and WRAL is reporting that State Superintendent Catherine Truitt has asked state officials for more time before the law is implemented to answer questions from school districts about complying.
The bill, among other changes, forbids discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through fourth grade and requires that schools notify parents if their child asks to use a different name or go by different pronouns.
While some parts of the law were implemented at the start of the school year, others have not yet gone into effect, and Truitt says districts have a lot of questions.
Part of the law set to begin in December requires parental permission for healthcare, but Truitt says districts aren’t sure how to handle that in emergency situations.
Reaching out to local school districts about if they had experienced any challenges in implementing the new laws, they had this to say:
Montgomery County Schools
“We are working to update policies and share with principals and comply with the law, as we speak. Our only issue is with the reporting deadlines.”
Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools
“We are currently as a district working through the bill and its requirements, seeing what is needed on our end and what things, if any, we need to do as a district to become compliant. (…) It is definitely on our radar and something we are working through.”
Davie County Schools
“Many of the provisions outlined in Senate Bill 49 align with the principles already covered in our existing Board Policy. Davie County Schools has consistently prioritized and fostered parental involvement while upholding parents’ rights in the education and upbringing of their children.
The administrative team continues to work closely with the North Carolina Department of Instruction (NCDPI) and our legal consultants to conduct a more comprehensive review of these documents and gain additional clarity around some of the details. Additionally, our district leadership team, along with school principals, recently completed staff development to gain a deeper understanding of the new components in the bill.
Our district remains steadfast in its commitment to actively engage with parents in order to foster student success. We firmly believe parents play a pivotal role in their children’s lives and education.”
Mount Airy City Schools
“There are a few required policy adjustments that will take time and the parent guidebook that will take time. There needs to be some training for principals and make sure that everyone understands the requirements. Delayed implementation until January 2024 would be helpful. There were a couple of areas that needed to be clarified with the state legislature because this statute conflicts with some statutes on record such as the ability to see what a child checks out at the library.
Thankfully, we are doing 90% of these requirements already and we have made everyone aware of the timelines expected through this law.”
Yadkin County Schools
“Our district, like most, has several policies already in place that comply with the law. Additionally, we have received some updated policies from the North Carolina School Boards Association that are currently being reviewed by our board of education. We also have gone through the entire law thoroughly with our school administrators so that they understand fully what is required. We are waiting on some guidance concerning certain parts of the law from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and the State Board of Education that we have been told is forthcoming. We have always sought to partner with parents and involve them in decisions regarding their children’s education and will continue to do so.”
Stokes County Schools
“Stokes County Schools is working to implement SB 49. There are requirements that will require policy changes. We are working with our attorney and the North Carolina School Boards Association to draft these policies. The Board will then have to approve the policies before we can notify parents and staff of the changes.”
Additional school districts were reached for comment but had not yet responded as of the writing of this article.