Craven School Board votes to support controversial ‘Parents’ Bill of Rights’ Senate bill

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The Craven County Board of Education has voted to adopt a resolution in support of N.C. Senate Bill 49, known as the “Parents’ Bill of Rights.” While Senate Republicans have argued the legislation is needed to safeguard the role of parents in their children’s education, opponents say it poses a danger to LGBTQ young people and their relationship to educators.

Among other provisions, the bill impacts the right to direct a child’s moral or religious training, the ability to access education and medical records and the right to make medical decisions for a child.

Senate Bill 49 passed the state Senate in February and was sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Gov. Roy Cooper has come out against the bill and is expected to veto it. However, Republicans have a veto-proof majority in the Senate, and would need the support of only one Democratic legislator in the House to override a potential veto there.

The bill was filed by senators Amy Galey, Michael Lee, and Lisa Stone Barnes. 

The Craven BOE’s resolution in support of Senate Bill 49 reads, “BE IT RESOLVED, that the Craven County Board of Education applauds Senators Galey, Lee and Barnes and encourages the General Assembly to pass this bill and encourages Governor Cooper to sign the bill into law.”

Senate Bill 49 can be viewed in its entirety at

During the Craven County Board of Education’s March 14 meeting, Dist. 4 board member Jennifer Dacey said the bill was the result of concerns expressed by parents over matters such as whether their children should be required to wear face masks if directed to by a school system. 

“I think the gist of the bill is something that really needs to be considered and supported,” she commented. “It’s got a real focus on parental engagement which I think needs to be a huge focus for us as we try and get our parents reengaged after COVID and play a more active role in their kid’s education.”

Dist. 3 board member Carr Ipock, who sits on the board of directors for the N.C. School Boards Association, said that although the 30-member, nonpartisan board was not opposed to a parents’ bill of rights, they were concerned about certain parts of the Senate Bill 49. Ipock said the SBA were in active negotiations with the general assembly to “tailor and refine the language” of the bill.

Ipock said the SBA’s priority is to ensure that laws contain language that will be actionable in school systems “without a lot of problem areas that are going to crop up after the fact.”

“It’s from that standpoint that I think we may be a little bit premature…I want to make sure this is something we can work with and not create additional problems, not only in our system but across the state,” Ipock said. 

Dist. 7 board member Naomi Clark said she was an advocate of parental rights but was troubled by parts of the board’s resolution.  

Clark said she took issue with a section of the resolution stating that the bill would require schools to notify parents of any issues involving their child’s physical or mental health.

“Some folk would argue that perhaps this would circumvent or present a barrier for children who are subject to neglect and abuse,” Clark commented.

Clark said she also had a problem with a part of the resolution recognizing that the bill “prohibits students in Kindergarten through fourth grade from receiving organized instruction on gender identity, sexual activity or sexuality, whether from school personnel or outside parties.”

“No one in this county thus far has been able to show me where our teachers in schools are showing Kindergarteners through fourth graders things on gender identity or sexual activity,” Clark said. “There’s parts of this bill I think are wonderful but other things I think are premature.”

Ipock moved that the board table the discussion of Senate Bill 49 until their April meeting. The motion failed on a 5-2 vote, with Ipock and Clark voting yes.

Dist. 5 board member Kelli Muse then made a motion that the board adopt the resolution in support of Senate Bill 49. The motion passed 5-2, with Ipock and Clark voting no.