VOTE NO to “Parental Rights” Legislation
  1. United States
  2. N.J.
  3. Letter

VOTE NO to “Parental Rights” Legislation

To: Sen. Diegnan, Gov. Murphy, Assembly Member Karabinchak, Assembly Member Stanley

From: A constituent in South Plainfield, NJ

December 11, 2023

I am writing to express my deep concern and opposition to "parental rights" legislation. While I appreciate the desire to protect families and their rights, it is important to consider the potential negative consequences that such legislation could have on our schools and, more importantly, the students who attend them. Many of the “rights” that are so vaguely written in these bills are already explicitly or implicitly provided to parents. These bills go far beyond what most would agree to and instead include provisions that take away the rights of students, put their safety in jeopardy, and cause a total nightmare for teachers and school administrations. Parental rights legislation places an undue burden on our school administrators and teachers. These bills are so poorly and broadly worded that they make it difficult for teachers to deliver comprehensive and age-appropriate curricula- on a variety of subjects including history, sexual education, health, and safety. Moreover, such legislation could be particularly harmful to BIPOC and LGBTQ+ students. By allowing parents to limit their children's exposure to certain educational resources, history, and concepts. This legislation could deny these students the opportunity to receive accurate information about their identities and experiences which could further perpetuate stereotypes and biases that are already deeply ingrained in our society. Many versions of these laws also violate the right to privacy of LGBTQ+ youth by requiring that teachers “out them” to their parents or guardians. These kinds of regulations will put LGBTQ+ youth’s lives and safety at risk. The overwhelming majority of Americans want and support comprehensive, age-appropriate sex education that can empower children to identify and report abuse. Parental rights legislation often explicitly contains restrictions on such education and creates confusion through very broadly worded policies. This results in school administrators and teachers being afraid of teaching certain subjects for fear of legal consequences. These proposed laws turn away from the concept of individual freedom and personal responsibility and give far too much power and authority to a small vocal minority who wish to control, change and ultimately destroy public education as we know it. I urge you to consider the potential negative consequences of such legislation, particularly for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ students, and to work towards policies that prioritize the education, safety, and well-being of all students. Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

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