Board Chair’s Statement on North Carolina Legislation, August 2023
Statement from Board of Education Chair Rani D. Dasi, Aug. 17, 2023
On behalf of the Board, I’d like to make a statement and raise awareness about the irresponsible, harmful and thoughtlessly wrong decisions coming out of the state Capitol.
Legislators returned to Raleigh this week. You would think they returned because they understand the damaging consequences of not approving a budget that includes compensation decisions for state employees, retirees, and school staff including teachers, and others.
You would think they returned because they care that leaving these decisions in limbo is having a damaging impact on a profession that is already struggling to recruit and retain staff, which will harm North Carolina’s children.
You would think they returned because they know that North Carolina misses out on more than $500 million in federal funding for each month that Medicaid expansion isn’t implemented, and that they care about how beneficial it would be for expanding access to health care for North Carolinians.
You would think all that. But you would be wrong. They returned to make schools less safe for students, passing a so-called “Bill of Rights” that intrudes into the most personal aspects of people’s lives, and taking away parent choice as if these legislators know what is best for children.
Republican supermajorities in the House and Senate enacted legislation restricting or banning gender-affirming medical care for transgender minors. I will note that gender-affirming care is considered safe and medically necessary by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association and the Endocrine Society. You know, people who actually understand science.
The new state legislation also says that if students want to be called by names or pronouns different from what’s in school records, in most cases teachers and staff have to notify their parents.
Duke Psychiatry Professor Sarah Wilson says, quote, “There’s robust scientific evidence that allows us to anticipate what some of the effects of these bills will be.” She goes on to say, quote: “We can anticipate that these bills are very likely to increase the risk for poor mental health outcomes like depression and anxiety, and increase the risk for suicide among not only LGBTQ+ youth in North Carolina but adults as well.” Unquote.
We elect these legislators in the trust that they will make laws and policies that are in the best interest of North Carolinians. But certain lawmakers continue to fail that trust.
Like many others across North Carolina, our hearts break for the students and families who will be harmed by this legislation. The CHCCS Board unequivocally affirms LGBTQ+ students and staff in our community. We will work toward maintaining spaces that are safe and nurturing so that every student, family and staff member feels seen, valued and supported in Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools.
CHCCS Board of Education Chair Rani D. Dasi, M.B.A.
Aug. 17, 2023