Bill Summary for S 49 (2023-2024)

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Summary date: 

Jan 31 2023

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2023-2024 Session
Senate Bill 49 (Public) Filed Tuesday, January 31, 2023
Intro. by Galey, Lee, Barnes.

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Bill summary

Part I.

Enacts Article 29F to GS Chapter 115C, codifying ten statutory rights of a parent:

  • to direct the education and care of their child;
  • to direct the upbringing and moral or religious training of their child;
  • to enroll their child in a public or nonpublic school and in any school choice options available for which the child is eligible to comply with attendance laws;
  • to access and review all education records relating to their child as authorized by federal law;
  • to make health care decision for their child unless otherwise provided by law;
  • to access and review all medical records of their child as authorized by federal law, unless prohibited by law or unless the parent is subject to certain GS Chapter 14 or 7B investigations;
  • to prohibit the creation, sharing, or storage of a biometric scan of their child without the parent's prior written consent, unless authorized by court order or law;
  • to prohibit the creation, sharing, or storage of their child's blood or DNA without the parent's prior written consent, unless authorized by court order or law;
  • to prohibit the creation by the State of a video or voice recording of their child without the parent's prior written consent, except a recording made in a court proceeding, a GS Chapter 14 or 7B investigation, or made for a safety demonstration, academic or extracurricular activity, classroom instruction, ID cards, or security or surveillance of buildings or grounds; and
  • to be promptly notified if an employee of the State suspects that a criminal offense has been committed against their child, unless the incident has first been reported to law enforcement or the county child welfare agency, and notification of the parent would impede the investigation.

Defines childparent, and State. Specifies that the Article does not authorize a parent to engage in unlawful conduct or abuse or neglect the child, and does not prohibit State officials, employees, or courts from acting within their official capacity within the reasonable and prudent scope of their respective authorities. Deems State employees who encourage, coerce, or attempt to encourage or coerce a child to withhold information from their parent subject to disciplinary action. 

Part II.

Enacts Article 7B in GS Chapter 115C. Defines child, parent, principal, school personnel, and superintendent. Includes legislative findings. Requires public school units to (1) inform parents of their legal rights and responsibilities with regards to their child's education, (2) provide a parent's guide for student achievement annually to parents, and (3) develop policies to effectively involve parents in schools and their child's education.

Enumerates 12 legal rights parents have with regards to their child's education, pursuant to specified state laws:

  • the right to consent or withhold consent for participation in reproductive health and safety education programs;
  • the right to seek a medical or religious exemption from immunization requirements;
  • the right to review statewide standardized assessment results as part of the State report card;
  • the right to request an evaluation of their child for an academically or intellectually gifted program, or for identification as a child with a disability;
  • the right to inspect and purchase public school unit textbooks and other supplementary instructional materials;
  • the right to access information relating to the unit's policies for promotion or retention;
  • the right to receive student report cards on a regular basis that clearly depict and grade the student's academic performance in each class or course, the student's conduct, and the student's attendance;
  • the right to access information relating to the State public education system, State standards, report card requirements, attendance requirements, and textbook requirements;
  • the right to participate in parent-teacher organizations;
  • the right to opt out of certain data collection for their child;
  • the right for students to participate in protected student information surveys only with parental consent; and
  • the right to review all available records of materials their child has borrowed from a school library.

Requires public school units to allow parents to exercise their legal rights and make the enumerated rights available to parents either electronically or by display on the school's website.

Requires the State Board of Education (State Board) to develop and annually update minimum requirements for public school units for a parent's guide to student achievement. Details nine required components, including opportunities for parental participation, educational choices available to parents, contact information for school and unit offices, and resources for information on the importance of student health and other available resources for parents. Requires public school units to provide parents, students, and school personnel a parent guide to student achievement at the beginning of each year that meets the State Board's minimum requirements, is understandable to students and parents, is provided in writing to the parent, and is discussed at the beginning of each school year in meetings of students, parents, and teachers.

Directs the governing bodies of public school units to develop and adopt policies to promote parental involvement and empowerment in the unit. Requires consultation with stakeholders. Sets requirements for the policies, including providing links to parents for community services. Additionally requires governing bodies to establish policies to meet six purposes, including providing for parental participation to improve parent and teacher cooperation, and establishing a process for parents to review materials for and to consent or withhold consent for participation in reproductive health and safety education programs.

Establishes the procedure for a parent to exercise their right to information by submitting a written request to their child's principal. Gives the principal a 10-business day period to comply or provide a 20-business day extension notice due to the volume or complexity of the request. Allows for parents to submit a written request to the superintendent if the principal denies their request or fails to respond with the timeline required, with a statement regarding the time frame of the denial or failure. Allows for the parent to appeal a denial or lack of response to the governing board of the public school unit if the superintendent denies or does not respond to the request within 10 business days, within 20 days of the request to the superintendent. Requires the governing body to schedule the appeal on the agenda for its next meeting occurring at least three business days after submission. Requires governing bodies to establish policies governing requests for information and appeals consistent with the act and display policies as specified. Deems decisions of a governing body final.

Requires governing bodies of a public school unit to adopt procedures to notify a parent of the following, at times specified: each health care service offered at their child's school and the means to provide consent to any service; procedures to exercise parental remedies; any K-3 student well-being questionnaire or health screening form and the means to provide consent to their use for their child; changes in services or monitoring related to their child's mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being and the school's ability to provide a safe and supportive learning environment for their child; and change to the name or pronoun used for the student in school records or by school personnel. Requires school personnel to encourage a child to discuss issues related to the child's well being with their parent and facilitate such discussions. Provides limitations to disclosure of a child's education and health records. Sets limitations on procedures and form that prohibit school employees from notifying a parent about their child's health or well-being or a change related to services or monitoring, or that encourage or have the effect of encouraging a child to withhold such information from their parent. 

Requires student support services training developed or provided by a public school unit to school personnel to adhere to student services guidelines, standards, and frameworks established by the Department of Public Instruction (DPI).

Prohibits instruction on gender identity, sexual activity, or sexuality from inclusion in K-4th grade curriculum, as specified.

Directs governing bodies of public school units to adopt procedures for a parent to notify the principal at their child's school regarding concerns about the unit's procedure or practice under the act and a process for resolving those concerns within seven days of notice. Requires the unit to provide a statement for not resolving the concern within that timeframe, and allows a parent to notify the State Board or bring an action against the school unit for injunctive relief if the concern is not resolved within 30 days. Directs the State Board to establish rules for parental concern hearings with five minimum requirements that must be met. 

Prohibits student participation in a protected information survey, defined as a survey, analysis, or evaluation that reveals information concerning any of eight categories of personal information such as political affiliations or beliefs and sex behavior or attitudes, without prior written or electronic consent of the parent or the adult student. Requires public school units to make the process for providing consent as well as the full text of the survey available to parents and adult students at least 10 days prior to administration of the survey. Specifies that these statutory requirements supplement federal rights provided to parents.

Establishes annual reporting requirements for public school units to report to the State Board regarding their most current policies and procedures adopted pursuant to Article 7B and specified data involving those policies from the prior school year. Requires the State Board to annually report summaries of the data points reported by public school units, identification of trends of noncompliance, and an appendix of each unit's report, to the specified NCGA committees.

Directs DPI to review and update school counseling frameworks and standards, educator practices and professional conduct principles, and other student services and school personnel guidelines, standards, or frameworks by June 30, 2024.

Applies beginning with the 2023-24 school year. 

Part III.

Enacts Part 3, Article 1A, GS Chapter 90, to prohibit health care practitioners, as defined, from providing, soliciting, or arranging treatment for a minor child without written consent from the minor’s parent, and to prohibit health care facilities, as defined, from allowing treatment to be performed on a minor child without written consent from the minor’s parent, subject to state law and court order. Defines treatment as any medical procedure or treatment, including X rays, the administration of drugs, blood transfusions, use of anesthetics, and laboratory or other diagnostic procedures employed by or ordered by a health care practitioner, that is used, employed, or ordered to be used or employed commensurate with the exercise of reasonable care and equal to the standards of medical practice normally employed in the community where the health care practitioner administers treatment to the minor child. Defines the parent as the minor child's parent or legal guardian. Excludes services provided by a clinical lab unless delivered through direct encounter with the minor child at the clinical laboratory facility. Subjects health care practitioners or other persons who violate the Part to disciplinary action by their respective authorizing board, including a fine of up to $5,000. Applies to violations committed on or after December 1, 2023.

Part IV.

Effective July 1, 2023, unless otherwise provided.