In less than 12 hours after proposed legislation was provided, the Republican-held NCGA Education Committee passed their first draft of a “Parental Bill of Rights.” While the Chair (and every other lawmaker) agrees that a majority of these points are simply being “reaffirmed,” there are two main sections being added that will significantly impact educators and our LGBTQ+ community.
Starting with what can be reaffirmed, parents have the option of sending their kids to their school of choice. Unfortunately, our school infrastructure is still crumbling across the state due to the NCGA defying numerous court orders to fund our schools as outlined in the Leandro Plan. Teacher pay has remained stagnant. Boards of Education have been harassed by misinformed anti-CRT rhetoric and ridiculed for following health and safety protocols for Covid.
Last year, newly elected Lt. Governor Mark Robinson started the hateful messaging when he called LGBTQ+ people “abominations and filth.” This same individual launched a crusade against books, and hounded teachers for their daily classroom materials. It’s no surprise that a bigot like Robinson would also be found on the NCGA floor advocating for the removal of queer influences. He thinks that teachers and the “far-left” are trying to socio-engineer children to become “less masculine.” Along with Rep. Jeff Zenger, both have said on record that “men should be honest, respectful, and have integrity.” This is where their lack of understanding on the issues is made perfectly clear.
People, like students, teachers, and elected officials, should all uphold the values of honesty, respect, and integrity. By dishonestly painting queer people as a “garbage,” these so-called leaders have failed to meet their own standards of respect and integrity. They do not engage in these topics in good faith, and simply add fuel to the political fire.
We call on all NCGA members to remove discriminatory language about LGBTQ+ people, and advocate for providing our students with what they need: a safe learning environment, well-equipped teachers and school staffing, and the funding required to push our education system back to one of the best in the nation.
We will fight this every step of the way, until the focus shifts to the real issues our students are facing.
Here and Queer,
J. Tyler Beall