Brunswick Co. School Board approves sending letter in support of NC “Parents’ Bill of Rights” with a caveat

Brunswick Co. School Board approves sending letter in support of NC “Parents’ Bill of Rights” with a caveat
Published: Mar. 7, 2023 at 4:34 PM EST
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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - On Tuesday, March 7, the Brunswick County Board of Education approved sending a letter in support of S.B. 49 “Parents’ Bill of Rights,” but with a recommendation for more limitations and a calendar for the 2023-2024 school year.

After passing its second and third readings in the Senate and a first reading in the House, S.B. 49 was referred to the Rules, Calendar and Operations of the House committee on Feb. 7.

The bill has faced criticism for its policies regarding names and pronouns, as it requires schools to notify parents before using a different name or pronouns for a student. With this change, staff would be required to potentially out a transgender student to their parents if they use a different name or pronouns at school than they do at home. This would apply to students regardless of grade level.

The bill includes another section which states that “instruction on gender identity, sexual activity, or sexuality shall not be included in the curriculum provided in grades kindergarten through fourth grade.”

The letter to be signed by Chair Steven Barger on behalf of the board would be sent to Sen. Bill Rabon and Reps. Frank Iler and Charles Miller. It states that the board objects to the provision “which permits sexual and gender transition instruction beginning in grade 5,” and it recommends the bill be changed to have this sort of instruction completely disallowed in elementary schools.

Current state law states that schools must provide a reproductive health and safety education program starting in the seventh grade, and Brunswick County Schools’ existing policy states that education on reproductive health begins in the seventh grade.

As written, S.B. 49 doesn’t specify what “instruction” on sexuality or gender identity refers to. A bill with similar phrasing passed in Florida, and some schools began taking actions to review any books with references to the topics.

The school board also voted to choose calendar option ‘A’ for the school year, meaning the first semester will end before Christmas break.

You can find the full meeting agenda on the Brunswick County Schools website.