AFT-NH: Students Would be Harmed and Not Protected by House’s Parental Bill of Rights
CONCORD, N.H.—The following is a statement from AFT-New Hampshire President Deb Howes on the upcoming House vote on SB 272, the Parental Bill of Rights bill:
“Schools are sometimes the only safe and welcoming places for some students, who should be able to count on teachers and school staff to protect them. The Senate’s parental bill of rights legislation blows that up. This bill puts certain students in danger, especially LGBTQIA+ students and those who are dealing with gender-identity issues. If a parent asks a teacher if their child is a member of a gay-straight alliance, the teacher would have to divulge what the student said, even in confidence. A teacher or other school employee also would have to have ‘clear and convincing’ evidence that a child would be harmed—for instance, by parents who objected to finding out their child joined a school club for gay students—before the school could keep the student’s trust instead of automatically complying with the parents’ request for information about activities that do not break any school rules or endanger the student in any way.
“This bill puts teachers in the awful position of investigating student behavior that some parents find concerning, and snitching on those students, if asked by the parents, almost without regard for the consequences. We shouldn’t have to wait until we see actual bruises to help protect a child.
“Schools must be safe havens for all students, places where they feel comfortable talking to teachers and other school staff. Our time would be much better spent working on providing our children the best education we can in an environment that encourages, not harms, students’ well-being.”