CMS has little time to implement changes to align with Parents’ Bill of Rights

CHARLOTTE — Leaders at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools have 10 days to make some major policy changes to ensure the district is in line with Senate Bill 49, also known as the “Parents’ Bill of Rights,” which just became law in North Carolina.

The CMS Board of Education’s Policy Committee met Thursday to discuss the trickle-down impact on the district after the state legislature overrode the governor’s veto of SB 49.

“I support the bills, and I support the policies and the hard work that each and every one of you have done,” said Lisa Cline, a CMS board member.

“It’s not because I agree with it, but I have to ensure what’s best for the district as a whole,” said Dee Rankin, another CMS board member. “(I) just want to make sure that’s clear.”

CMS talked about several key policy changes, which include:

  • Parents will have to opt in for their children to participate in reproductive health and safety education programs. Students were automatically part of it previously unless a parent chose to opt-out.
  • The district also must give parents options to review library media center and supplementary education materials.
  • It requires the district to develop policies that involve parents in schools and in their child’s education.
  • Gender identity, sexual orientation, or sexual activity may not be mentioned in any curriculum provided in K-4.

“I can assure you that, as a CMS teacher, that the third-grade curriculum, at least in particular, does not have any lessons on this, gender identity, sexuality, anything like that,” said Megan Hill a teacher.

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Some told the board they’ve seen social media posts indicating some educators might not follow the new policies.

“There have to be consequences for educators that are in violation of the law, so we will be holding you accountable,” said Brooke Weiss, president of the Moms of Liberty, Charlotte-Mecklenburg chapter.

Board members differ on whether the impact of the policy changes brought on by SB 49 will be positive or detrimental.

“It’s going to force teachers to not hide or use text messaging,” Cline said. “It’s going to force them to use the phone to lay out the curriculum to make sure parents are educated.”

“So many of these parent rights that we’re now having to list are already rights that parents have,” said Jennifer De La Jara, a CMS board member.

They all agree on one thing however, which is that it will cost time, money and resources to institute sweeping changes with a little more than a week before school starts.

The Board of Education Policy Committee will send the policy modifications to the full school board, which will vote next Tuesday.

VIDEO: CMS prepares for potential override of Gov. Coper’s ‘Parents’ Bill of Rights’ veto

Jonathan Lowe

Jonathan Lowe, wsoctv.com

Jonathan is a reporter for WSOC-TV.

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