Revised Senate bill includes restrictions on content of books in school libraries in North Carolina

Thursday, July 13, 2023
New NC Senate bill includes restricting content of books in libraries
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The new version of Senate Bill 90 which is over 20 pages long contains a wide range of educational issues

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- A sweeping revised controversial bill featuring a laundry list of hot topics in education is gaining a lot of attention at the State Capitol.

A new version of Senate Bill 90 which is over 20 pages long contains a wide range of education issues, some of them dealing with controversial topics rolled into one bill.

Some of the major changes

  • Allowing parents to challenge school leaders they disagree with and if challenges are appealed to superior court, can lead up to $5,000 in damages - As few as five of those challenges could also put a superintendent's job in jeopardy
  • Restricting the content of books in libraries and also requiring a parents permission for students to get a library card
  • Requiring educators to notify parents if a child is questioning their gender

The House Education Committee co-chair John Torbett (R-Gaston County) says he's aware the bill has a lot rolled into one, but says all deal with parents' rights.

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"In education, we've always heard about we need to get parents more in tune with their kid's education we've heard that for decades this provides them with more of an opportunity," Torbett says.

The bill was scheduled for a hearing on Wednesday but was canceled to give lawmakers more time to look it over.

"Interfering with the ability of schools to function."

One Democrat on the committee says he's alarmed by some of the provisions in the bill.

"As a parent of two kids in public schools, I'm mostly concerned about the fact that my kids the past school year had teacher shortages. They didn't have full-time teachers in the classroom. Instead of putting money into the classroom, we're interfering with the ability of our schools to function," says Rep. Brandon Lofton (D-Mecklenburg County)

Supporters of the bill say their goal is to move forward with the legislation by the end of this month.

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Mitch Kokai, communications director at the conservative John Locke Foundation, said he believes this is the right idea about things that need to be tackled.

"A lot of this is being lumped together in one bill at the end of a legislative session and there's not a lot of time allocated to dotting every I and crossing every T," he said.