Parental notification bill passes Senate

The Senate floor on Thursday, May 16, 2024.

The Senate floor on Thursday, May 16, 2024. JEREMY MARGOLIS—Monitor staff

By JEREMY MARGOLIS

Monitor staff

Published: 05-16-2024 5:27 PM

A bill that would require teachers to notify parents at least two weeks before they introduce content about sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or gender expression, passed the Senate Thursday, much to the chagrin of its longest-serving member.

“This bill is one of the reasons nobody wants to go into teaching,” Democratic Sen. Lou D’Allesandro bellowed from the Senate floor on Thursday, his voice rising. “Nobody needs this crap.” 

The bill passed the Republican-majority Senate in a party-line vote, 13-10, and now heads to Gov. Sununu’s desk.

The bill would also restrict school districts from adopting policies that infringe on educators’ ability to answer parents’ questions about their “mental, emotional, or physical health” or “sexuality”.

Senate Republicans said the law was necessary to keep parents informed about how their students are doing and what they are learning about.

“For some reason, this has become a controversial issue with school districts adopting policies that intentionally hide information from parents about their children's education,” said Sen. Timothy Lang, a Sanbornton Republican. “We should not be asking teachers to keep secrets from parents or to put teachers between parents and children.”

Senate Democrats countered that the bounds of what would require notification were unclear and would burden teachers.

“This nonsense that we’re talking about here today inhibits good teaching,” said D’Allesandro, a Manchester Democrat and a former educator and college president.

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New Hampshire law already requires schools to notify parents of course material used in the teaching of human sexuality and sexual education. The proposed law would broaden the list of topics that require notification.

Several advocacy organizations and the state’s two educator unions have described the bill as anti-LGBTQ.

“It is alarming to see lawmakers supporting yet another attempt to chill classroom conversations by broadly and vaguely expanding the state’s two-week notice requirements for so-called ‘objectionable material’ related to gender and sexual orientation,” NEA-New  Hampshire president Megan Tuttle said in a statement following the vote.