Statement from AFT-NH President Deb Howes on House Bill 1431

Statement from AFT-NH President Deb Howes on House Bill 1431

Bow, NH ~ We are outraged that extremist Republicans from the New Hampshire House and Senate moved New Hampshire’s version of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill forward. Under the pretext of restoring parental rights many of which are already in law, HB1431 would cause real harm to NH LGBTQ+ students. It would force teachers and school staff to out LGBTQ+ students by reporting to their parents anything they disclosed about their gender identity or sexual preference to trusted adults at school. For some LGBTQ+ students who do not come from safe and loving homes, this could lead to serious emotional duress, mental health issues, or physical harm.

We are greatly encouraged that the Governor recognizes how dangerous this bill is and has pledged to veto it, however, make no mistake this bill does not deserve the support of our legislature and should be immediately defeated.

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AFT-New Hampshire Legislative Bulletin (2022-018)

The harmful “Parental Bill of Rights” HB 1431 which would grant such sweeping rights to parents to be informed of anything and everything their child does while at school that it would take away the child’s ability to have a confidential conversation with a school counselor or discuss a concern with a teacher or other trusted adult at school has one more stop to make before it reaches Governor Sununu. This means we have another chance to stop it! The NH House and Senate passed different versions of this bill. Neither one of them is good for students, particularly LGBTQ students, because it requires that teachers and school staff inform parents of any important information about a child’s health, education and well-being. Among other things, the bill requires reporting on clubs and extracurricular activities as well as if the student requests to be called by a different name or pronoun at school. We know that LGBTQ students are at greater risk of physical or emotional harm if they come from a family who does not accept them for who they are. HB1431 would take away trusted adults at school from LGBTQ students when they might not have a trusted and supportive adult at home.

AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin, 2022-17 (Action Alert-Veto HB 1431)

HB 1431 (parental bill of rights)  Despite pleas from education, child advocacy and human rights organizations, the majority in the NH Senate voted final passage on HB 1431 guaranteeing sweeping and uninterrupted parental rights in education while putting vulnerable children at risk of harm. The bill needlessly puts vulnerable children who do not come from safe homes with loving, caring adults at risk of harm and even death by limiting the rights of kids and of the State to protect them. We wish this were hyperbole, but it is not. The bill requires any teacher or school staff to disclose any important information they learn about a child’s health or well-being to a parent, making it impossible for a student to have a conversation or share a concern with a trusted adult in the school setting that they are not ready or not able to share at home. For LGBTQ+ students it can take away a safe place for them at a time in their lives when that space is vital. Without access to trusted adults and safe spaces at school, vulnerable children will be in danger: emotionally and possibly physically.

AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin, 2022-16

April 29, 2022 ~ Bow, NH

We can start with some celebration!  For the second week in a row, we saw HB 1393 get defeated, this time by the entire Senate on a voice vote. HB 1393 would have established rigid, per-pupil school budget tax caps that could have only been adjusted to inflation and would have been extremely harmful to school budgets. However, the celebration is dampened by the fact that the House has taken the language from 1393 and attached it to a bill currently in the House (more on this below).

AFT-NH President Deb Howes Urges Governor to Veto Risky-for-Children Parental Bill of Rights

BOW, N.H.—Statement by Deb Howes, president of AFT-New Hampshire, on Senate passage of HB 1431, the Parental Bill of Rights, which would require N.H. teachers and school staff to disclose to parents any communications they have with students that affect the child’s health and well-being, potentially chilling important confidential conversations with students in vulnerable situations who do not feel safe at home:

AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin, 2022-15

The first bit of good news this week—is April break! We hope you all get to spend this week off relaxing and recharging for the last two months of school.  We can continue with some good news from the legislature this week—HB 1393 a convoluted bill that would have imposed school district budget caps that would have only been allowed to be adjusted to inflation, was voted ITL out of committee 4-1. The bill still has to clear the full Senate, but an ITL motion means it is closer than ever to being defeated.  If you haven’t contacted your state senator yet, please take a quick action to let your senator know you oppose this bill.