Senate bill in ND legislature focuses on parents’ fundamental rights
BISMARCK, N.D. (KVRR) — A bill in the North Dakota legislature focuses on parents’ rights, education and consenting medical treatment for their children.
The Senate bill would let parents direct the education, moral and religious training of their child.
Parents are free to opt out of any school curriculum if they feel it threatens their family values.
Supporters say it’s a parent’s responsibility to know what schools are teaching their children and reserve rights exclusively to a parent without obstruction from the government.
“The family is the fundamental building block of society. Parents are the primary stakeholders in a child’s well-being. They should always know what’s going on in their child’s life so they may parent the child in the most appropriate manner with regards to their unique characteristics and environment,” says Jacob Thomsen, a policy analyst with the North Dakota Family Alliance.
Some teachers oppose the bill as it would not allow them to alter their curriculum to fit some students’ needs.
“Education in North Dakota would need to be one size fits all. I don’t believe that’s what North Dakota parents would prefer. As a parent, that’s not what I prefer,” said Jennifer Kallenbach, a teacher.
Supporters say the laws of society should affirm the natural order of parents raising their kids and protecting their rights to direct their kids’ upbringing and education.
“Parents should know what their children are taught and should have the freedom to opt out of controversial curriculum or choose the schooling solution that best fits their families. Public schools have a responsibility and duty to be transparent about what they are teaching children and respect parents’ wishes when it comes to divisive and potentially harmful issues including gender ideology or critical race theory,” says Republican State Senator Bob Paulson of Minot.
Teachers opposing the bill say parents could misunderstand curriculum context and keep students away from certain devices or websites their child can use for education.
“I become really disheartened when I think about that decrease in flexibility to take advantage of authentic learning experiences. As a science teacher in a small school, I have to teach to the standards. I choose my curriculum based on that, but I have to sometimes, because of my location in a rural area, I have to think of creative or unconventional ways to present that material,” said Monica Meadows, a teacher.
If the bill passes the House, parents would be notified at least three days in advance before their child attends any instruction related to gender roles and sexual and romantic relationships.