Parents are primarily responsible for their children's education. Just because a parent sends their kids to public school doesn't mean they lose their fundamental right to know what their children are being taught.
We need your help! We're calling on parents to ask their schools to let them review the sex ed curriculum AND materials, and report to us on this website what they're using, and what happened. Here's why:
Today, parents are especially in need of keeping our schools accountable and transparent. In the past couple years, the public has been shocked by episodes of "gender unicorns" being used to teach sexuality and gender identity, by the reading of transgender books like Jacob's New Dress to kindergartners, by the call for drag queen story hours at public libraries, and by the usage of incredibly vulgar comprehensive sex ed curriculums produced by Planned Parenthood. The incidents have occurred across our beloved state, from Mecklenburg to Cumberland.
Parents have responded with shock, outrage, and even protests like the SexEdSitOut. However, the fact that these incidents shock the parents who discover them is part of a much bigger problem.
In North Carolina, Parents have the right to know what their kids are being taught, and their children's sex education must meet specific requirements. According to current state law, sex education must:
- Commence "in the seventh grade" (§ 115C‑81.30. [a]),
- Teach "abstinence from sexual activity outside of marriage" as the "expected standard for all school-age children" (§ 115C‑81.30. [a]),
- Teach "that a mutually faithful monogamous heterosexual relation in the context of marriage is the best lifelong means of avoiding sexually transmitted diseases" (§ 115C‑81.30. [a]),
- Provide "opportunities that allows for the interaction between the parent or legal guardian and the student" (§ 115C‑81.30. [a]).
In addition to these requirements, parents have the right to review and consent to their children's participation in sex education. On the right of parental review and consent, current state law states:
- Each local school board is required to "adopt a policy and provide a mechanism to allow a parent or a legal guardian to withdraw his or her child from instruction" (§ 115C‑81.30. [b]),
- "Each school year, before students may participate in any portion of (i) a program that pertains to or is intended to impart information or promote discussion or understanding in regard to the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, or to the avoidance of out-of-wedlock pregnancy or (ii) a reproductive health and safety education program, whether developed by the State or by the local board of education, the parents and legal guardians of those students shall be given an opportunity to review the objectives and materials as provided in G.S. 115C-81.25(d). Local boards of education shall adopt policies to provide opportunities either for parents and legal guardians to consent or for parents and legal guardians to withhold their consent to the students' participation in any or all of these programs" (§ 115C‑81.30. [c]).
Furthermore, federal law states that "a local educational agency that receives funds under any applicable program shall develop and adopt policies, in consultation with parents, regarding the following:"
- "The right of a parent of a student to inspect, upon the request of the parent, any instructional material used as part of the educational curriculum for the student;" (Protection of Pupil Rights, 20 U.S. Code § 1232h [c][C][i]),
- "any applicable procedures for granting a request by a parent for reasonable access to instructional material within a reasonable period of time after the request is received" (Protection of Pupil Rights, 20 U.S. Code § 1232h [c][C][ii]).
This leads to a number of important questions. What is each school district's mechanism to opt kids out of sex ed? Where do school boards clarify their policy? Are schools honoring the request of parents to opt their kids out? Are parents being given opportunities to review not just the objectives, but the actual materials used in sex ed each year? How does a parent review these materials? What curriculums and materials are even being taught at their school? How can a parent get access to this curriculum and material? How are schools meeting the parental interaction requirements of all sex education?
Given these laws and questions, why do we continue to have incidents where parents are shocked and outraged when they find out what their kids are being taught about in schools? It seems clear that in North Carolina, parents have three important rights pertaining to sex ed:
- Parental Consent: Be given a mechanism to opt their kids in or out of sex education by a school board.
- Parental Review: Be given the opportunity to review the objectives and materials of sex ed each school year, and before students may even participate in these sex ed programs.
- Parental Interaction: Be given opportunities to interact with the student and the sex ed program content.
We consider any school that does not meet these three requirements to be a "Parent Free School Zone." Unfortunately, any parent setting out to consent and review sex education in their local schools is forced to navigate a maze complicated by the policies of each individual school board, and then each specific school. We've decided to help educate parents on their rights, and discover their school district's policies, by creating this website, gathering information on schools and school board policies, identifying the violation of parental rights by identifying "Parent Free School Zone" schools and boards, and visualizing this data in an interactive Education Map.
Here's where you come in: we need your help making sure our schools don't become a "Parent Free School Zone." We're calling on all parents to perform this important task: We need you to go to your local school and simply ask to see the sex education curriculum. We then need you to visit the "Sex Ed Survey" page, and simply tell us what happened. If they don't allow you to actually see the curriculum objectives AND actual materials, we need you to tell us why.
We've already created a map on this site to show you all the public schools, private schools, superintendents, and more in the state. We'll also use your "Sex Ed Survey" feedback to map out what curriculums and materials schools are using, as well as what opt in or out policies school boards have. Your responses will help other parents know what their kids are being taught.
Want to do more? We also need volunteers to help us discover the comprehensive sex ed policies of school boards, and whether they're violating them. We need volunteers to get answers to a couple important questions that help us map out which schools are considered "Parent Free School Zones," as based on whether they or their school board are not honoring the rights of parental consent, parental review, or parental interaction. Visit the volunteer page to learn more.