The largest public school district in North Carolina has voted to create new policies to better align with the state’s newly passed Parents’ Bill of Rights.
The Wake County school board voted on the measure just before the Christmas break.
The regulations, instituted statewide earlier this year by the successful passage of Senate Bill 49, aim to safeguard the authority and influence of parents over their public-schooled children.
The new state policy requires that schools communicate with parents about important updates to their children’s wellbeing, including if students are seeking to identify with a different name or pronouns at school. The bill also Existing policy that Wake County schools already adopted in compliance with Senate Bill 49 also enables parents to withhold consent for their child to participate in sex-ed classes, which Wake County has already implemented.
Additionally, the school district now formally prohibit classroom teaching of sexual orientation and gender identity before the 5th grade, as required by the law.
“Instruction on gender identity, sexual activity, or sexuality shall not be included in the curriculum provided in grades kindergarten through fourth grade, regardless of whether the information is provided by school personnel or third parties,” the law states.
Though the Parents’ Bill of Rights was signed into law in August, school districts were given through the end of 2023 to update policies to comply.
“The Parents’ Bill of Rights is an essential piece of legislation that informs, empowers and equips parents to advocate for their children’s academic, physical, emotional and overall wellbeing at school,” said Catherine Truitt, state superintendent. “From the beginning, I’ve supported the Parents’ Bill of Rights law, and I want it to be implemented successfully and enacted fully.”
Senate Bill 49 was one of three bills addressing transgender issues vetoed by Gov. Roy Cooper this summer. House Bill 574 protects female students from having to compete against male students who identify as transgender, while House Bill 808 protects minors from receiving puberty-blockers, cross-sex hormones and mutilating surgeries. The Legislature overrode all three vetoes from Gov. Cooper in August.
The Parents’ Bill of Rights has provoked the ire of pro-LGBT activists due to its emphasis on parental authority over issues such as gender identity and sexual orientation. Three LGBT organizations filed a Dec. 12 federal Title IX complaint against the board of education in Buncombe for creating a “hostile education environment” for students who identify as LGBT.
Notably, Shanon Martin, the Buncombe County Title IX coordinator, said on Wednesday that the school district will not process the complaint under its Title IX policy because the complaint does not identify a victim or offense.