State House Republicans create notification form for parents to send to schools
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Republican Party of New Mexico is providing a tool to help solidify parental rights with school curriculum.
Essentially, it’s a formal letter for parents to send to their child’s school, asking them to be notified when specific topics come up in the classroom – even though some schools say they already have something like this in place.
“The form itself will clear up the ambiguous nature of the legislation that was unclear, not only for school districts and teachers and school workers, but parents across the state are unsure of what’s going on,” said Rep. Luis Terrazas, who represents Catron, Grant and Hidalgo counties.
Terrazas is referring to House Bill 7, also known as the Reproductive and Gender-Affirming Health Care Freedom Act, an anti-discrimination bill that became law this year.
The law states, “A public body or agent of a public body shall not discriminate against a person based on that person’s use of or refusal to use reproductive health care services or gender-affirming health care.”
The law never mentions parents or parental rights when it comes to knowing what is taught in schools.
According to Republican House members, the law is unclear when it comes to parental notification. So, they published a letter for parents to send to their school districts.
“This simple form here is a parental notification and consent form that is free for you to download and print,” Terrazas said. “It asks school districts to keep parents informed on the curriculum, class discussions, and decisions that impact their child’s health care.”
The letter says parents need to be notified when certain topics are discussed in class – for example, abortion, gender identity, mental health care, or contraception.
“I recognize that there are some schools and districts that have policies that do not require notification,” Terrazas said. “This letter and form released today makes it clear that those who wish to participate that parents’ rights are paramount and need to be respected, even if local policy says otherwise.”
A spokesperson for Albuquerque Public Schools clarified that schools do not provide heath care to their students, and leave all health care decisions up to parents.
The form is available on the New Mexico House Republican Campaign Committee website.
Democratic state Rep. Linda Serrato, one of the sponsors of HB 7, shared the following statement:
“This is nothing more than a political stunt. At best, these letters will create confusion for parents about what their kids are learning and concern for teachers about what they are allowed to teach. At worst, these letters have the potential to pit parents and teachers against each other, when we all should be working together in the interest of our kids – not standing in the way of their ability to get healthcare.
It’s also important to note, that HB 7 has absolutely nothing to do with school curriculum. It simply ensures that no matter where you are in New Mexico, you will not be discriminated against, prosecuted or persecuted for receiving the healthcare you need, including reproductive, abortion, or gender-affirming care.”