Deb Howes: “Children dealing with personal issues who don’t feel comfortable talking to a parent but want to confide in a school employee would lose much-needed protection for their social and emotional health.”
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:
“We strongly believe in productive communication between teachers and parents, but this bill is so extreme that it would chill confidences that vulnerable children want to have with trusted teachers or other school staff. We wish every child came from a safe and loving home where they could share all their concerns with their parents without fear of harm, but this is not always the case. Children dealing with personal issues who don’t feel comfortable talking to a parent but want to confide in a school employee would lose much-needed protection for their social and emotional health. The Parental Bill of Rights would make it impossible for teachers and school staff to treat classrooms and schools as safe zones for all students, including the most vulnerable.
“The Parental Bill of Rights also gives parents the unlimited right to veto any aspect of instruction. We can’t allow a parent to force changes in the classroom that affect all other students and that other parents don’t support. Parents should work out their concerns individually with their child’s teacher.
“AFT-NH is calling on Gov. Chris Sununu to veto the bill and move forward with measures that will actually help all students.”
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