Parents do not have the right to know their middle school children have access to graphic novels that depict children engaged in sex acts and include links to gay dating apps, nor are they allowed to know teachers are urging kindergartners to draw themselves naked.
That was the case New Hampshire Democrats made as they opposed GOP legislation expanding parents’ rights over their kids’ public school experience.
The battle over the Parents’ Bill of Rights took center stage Tuesday with a packed Representatives Hall for the House Education Committee hearing on SB 272. The Senate passed the bill along party lines last month.
A similar House bill sponsored by House Speaker Sherman Packard, HB 10, died in the closely split legislature this year. Packard said the Senate version needs to pass to give parents the final say over their children’s education.
“Parents are responsible for the upbringing of their own children. We support the parents’ right to know what is happening to their child in school. These are our children, not the state’s or the school district’s,” Packard said.
Emotions ran high during several hours of testimony, as Democrats and left-leaning media outlets have characterized the bill as targeting LGBT students.
The bill is designed to address situations like the one in the Manchester school system in which a mother requested information after hearing rumors her child was identifying as a different gender at school. The Manchester district’s policy is to keep that information secret from parents. The mother was forced to sue, and Hillsborough Superior Court Judge Amy Messer upheld the district’s policy directing teachers and staff not to fully and accurately inform parents about their children’s behavior.
Democrats have responded by arguing parents are simply too dangerous to be given the same information about their children that teachers, students, and school staff have.
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