North Carolina Republicans, joining their colleagues across the country, have been cracking down on public education. Three GOP state senators introduced a bill this week that would pave the way for parents to have school officials removed from their posts and librarians prosecuted for failing to adhere to rules related to the dissemination of “harmful materials to minors.”
The House Education Committee pulled the bill from its agenda after it was originally planning to consider it on Wednesday, but committee Chair John Torbett reportedly insisted they would “come back to it.” It’s unclear how the bill would fare if it were brought up for a vote. Republicans have veto-proof control of the state legislature, however, which means they could override a potential veto from Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper.
Cooper last week vetoed three bills, including one restricting the discussion of gender identity in school. Republicans are expected to override it. Republicans secured their veto-proof majority earlier this year when then-Democratic Rep. Tricia Cotham switched parties, citing how she was bullied for her emoji use.
The bill introduced on Wednesday would give parents the ability to take legal action if they feel a school is restricting their “fundamental right to parent,” which the bill defines as the “liberty of a parent to direct the upbringing, education, health care, and mental health” of their child. Parents whose complaints are upheld would be entitled to a minimum of $5,000 in damages, in addition to attorney fees. The bill allows school boards to terminate superintendents who are cited in a certain number of parental appeals.
The bill also calls for heightened transparency in public libraries, requiring them to “restrict access to materials harmful to minors, require parental consent for minors’ access to libraries, [and] allow parents access to minors’ library records.” Violating these requirements would be a Class 1 misdemeanor, with “employees or agents of schools and public libraries” no longer having “an affirmative defense to the offenses.”
Educators seem concerned about the bill’s provisions. “One of my first thoughts when I saw it was I’m so glad I’m already out of the classroom,” Taylor Cordes, a former special educator in the state, told WUNC. “I’m so glad I’m not going to have to be navigating how to implement this in the school.”
Democrats have also objected with Rep. Julie von Haefen alleging at a press conference that the bill “feigns to give rights to parents,” describing it instead as “a license for book banning committees to run rampant, and groups like Moms for Liberty to get superintendents fired for violations of the ‘fundamental right to parent.’”
Source: Yahoo News