Senate Acts Quickly on Controversial Bills
Special Report - April 30, 2009
During a last minute meeting on April 29, the Senate Committee on Mental Health and Youth Services approved two bills that would drastically affect public school students across North Carolina. Both bills were unexpectedly removed from their original committee assignments and sent to Mental Health. The chairman of the Senate Committee on Mental Health and Youth Services then announced from the Senate floor that her committee would meet at 4:00 that afternoon. The committee approved both bills, and since neither bill is supposed to receive a hearing in any other committees, either could be heard on the floor of the Senate as early as Monday night.
SB 526School Violence Prevention Act, otherwise known as the “Bullying Bill”, seeks to single out children for special protection based on actual or perceived characteristics including “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” This bill seeks to use bullying and harassment in public schools as a mechanism to introduce special legal protections for homosexuality, bisexuality, cross dressing and other “alternative” sexual behaviors for the first time in state history. Once codified in North Carolina statutes, these characteristics would receive special protection from the state. Additionally, by including these enumerations in its statues, North Carolina law could be interpreted as condoning and even promoting homosexuality as a normal and healthy lifestyle.
Last year, when the Senate considered the House version of the bill, the Senate removed the entire section mentioning specific student characteristics in an attempt to protect all students from all bullying. They then sent the bill back to the House for approval. Instead of approving that bill, the House let it die. The action of yesterday’s committee demonstrates a marked change in procedure.
HB 88Healthy Youth Act would impose a requirement on all 115 school districts in the state to teach Comprehensive Sex Education (CSE), despite fewer than a dozen districts making that decision on their own over the past 14 years. The bill was heavily amended in the House to give parents more control over their child’s curriculumallowing them to choose an Abstinence Until Marriage (AUM), CSE, or neither programbut remains problematic in its imposition of an unfunded mandate to school systems to offer a program, CSE, that parents have rejected time and again in addition to AUM. CSE teaches students a “risk reduction” approach to sexual activity outside of marriage while AUM takes a “risk elimination” approach of AUM that uses directive education to give students the life skills necessary to make good decisions, including postponing sex until marriage.
Copyright © 2009. North Carolina Family Policy Council. All rights reserved.