The North Carolina state legislature is facing criticism over a new bill that aims to give parents greater authority over their children’s education and health, but which detractors argue would harm young LGBTQ individuals. The bill, which is expected to pass the Senate floor and head to the House, would require public school personnel to inform parents before calling their child by a different name or pronoun, and would also ban instruction about gender identity and sexuality in K-4 classrooms, with the exception of “student-initiated questions.”
Critics of the bill warn that it could put the mental health and physical safety of transgender and gender-nonconforming students at risk by outing them to their parents without their consent. However, supporters argue that the bill is necessary in order to keep parents informed about what their children are being taught in schools. The revised bill, which passed the Senate last year, is expected to pass the chamber again, although it will require support from some Democratic lawmakers in the House in order to clear it.
The bill’s passage through the Senate floor follows nearly two hours of debate and hearings, and has sparked outrage among LGBTQ rights advocates and supporters of equal education for all students. The decision to move forward with the bill is sure to reignite the ongoing battle over LGBTQ rights in the state, and raises questions about the role of public schools in protecting and supporting vulnerable students.