APS board tables controversial parent rights proposal - Albuquerque Journal

APS board tables controversial parent rights proposal

Community members hold up brightly-colored posters voicing their opposition to a controversial proposed policy at an Albuquerque Public Schools board meeting on Thursday, July 7, 2022. Quiet applause and grumblings occasionally rumbled through the audience as board members discussed the proposal. (Esteban Candelaria/Albuquerque Journal)

Where do parent rights end, and their students’ rights begin?

Albuquerque Public Schools board members took up that issue at a contentious Thursday evening policy meeting, as they discussed a new proposed policy that would lay out the rights parents have when it comes to their kids’ education.

One of the issues opponents took up was whether parents should have the right to access all of their students’ educational records with the district, including things they tell school counselors and others in confidence. The proposal would be particularly devastating to some LGBTQ+ students, according to many of its opponents.

In the end, the board voted 6-1 to table the proposal, noting they’d received a flood of related public outcry over the measure and saying they need more time. Only board member Courtney Jackson voted against tabling the proposal, but had earlier recommended striking some of the controversial language.

“We came out of this one a little too quick,” Board President Yolanda Montoya-Cordova said. “We didn’t do our homework.”

The proposed policy was introduced June 6, one board member noted. APS Policy Analyst and Legislative Liaison Heather Bassett said the policy was intended to go into this year’s student handbook, but said that may be a conversation for next year. In that case, she recommended the policy be ready for a vote sometime in November or December.

A lack of a public comment section — committee meetings don’t have them — didn’t stop upward of 30 community members from cramming into the boardroom to express their concerns over the policy. In lieu of public comments, people quietly held up brightly-colored posters with messages such as “we stand with LGBTQ+ students.”

The proposed policy’s language states that parents “have the right … to have access to all educational records of a school district concerning their child” including “educational and/or social support plans, school counseling records, and school health records.”

The proposal also states that parents have the right to “be included in any educational and/or social support plans.”

Community members sounded the alarm over the proposal ahead of Thursday’s meeting.

Groups like GLSEN Albuquerque, a local chapter of a teacher-founded national LGBTQ+ advocacy network, said that while parents have a right to know what’s going on with their children, students also have a right to privacy.

“It would be outing students,” GLSEN Albuquerque Co-Chair and Policy Coordinator Damon Carbajal said of the proposal. “If they didn’t tell their parents or guardians for some reason or the other, it’s probably not in their best interest or their safety.”

Records that were under threat, he said, included gender support plans, which were being lumped in with social support plans, Carbajal said.

Those plans come in two forms, Carbajal said — official and unofficial. The latter is more of a concern with respect to the proposal, because he said unofficial plans allow students who may be transgender, non-binary, or another identity to use their pronouns and their names in school.

Parents and guardians don’t necessarily have access to the unofficial plans, he said.

“Even though they’re youth and students, they should have some anonymity in certain things to ensure that they’re being safe,” Carbajal said.

The policy’s language also sparked concern from the school employees entrusted with helping students with their private affairs.

“APS counselors said that they were very concerned that this puts kids at risk, because kids really trust counselors,” ATF President Ellen Bernstein said.

Though the proposal was ultimately tabled, that doesn’t mean its opponents’ work is done.

“I think there’s still going to be a fight,” Carbajal said.

Home » ABQnews Seeker » APS board tables controversial parent rights proposal

Insert Question Legislature form in Legis only stories

Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

ABQjournal can get you answers in all pages


Questions about the Legislature?
Albuquerque Journal can get you answers
Email addresses are used solely for verification and to speed the verification process for repeat questioners.
Interstate 40 closed both ways due to crash east ...
ABQnews Seeker
All lanes of Interstate 40 near ... All lanes of Interstate 40 near mile marker 41 have been closed due to a multiple-vehicle crash Friday morning. 
State safety workers are investigating an 'incident' involving the ...
ABQnews Seeker
The Environment Department's Occupational Health and ... The Environment Department's Occupational Health and Safety Bureau is investigating an incident involving a crane at Intel's Rio Rancho plant. 
High dollar dips: 7 Albuquerque-area houses for sale with ...
ABQnews Seeker
There is nothing quite like splashing ... There is nothing quite like splashing in a pool on a hot summer's day — but those who want that luxury in their own ...
'All the World Is Sleeping' sheds light on the ...
ABQnews Seeker
"All the World is Sleeping" had ... "All the World is Sleeping" had a New Mexico premiere at the Santa Fe International Film Festival in October 2021.
'Better Call Saul' actor to be honored at the ...
ABQnews Seeker
Patrick Fabian will be on hand ... Patrick Fabian will be on hand to accept the award in Las Cruces at the 2023 LCIFF awards ceremony at the Rio Grande Theatre ...
PBS documentary looks back on protesting and its impact ...
ABQnews Seeker
American Experience's "The Movement and the ... American Experience's "The Movement and the 'Madman'" will premiere at 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 28, on New Mexico PBS, channel 5.1.
Albuquerque police called in the bomb squad. It turned ...
ABQnews Seeker
Albuquerque police called out the bomb ... Albuquerque police called out the bomb squad when they found what they thought was a pipe bomb in a stolen vehicle Thursday afternoon. The ...
Traditional Spanish Market gets new leadership
ABQnews Seeker
Albuquerque-based Atrisco Heritage Foundation to take ... Albuquerque-based Atrisco Heritage Foundation to take the reins
After Denver school shooting, an outcry erupts over security
ABQnews Seeker
DENVER (AP) -- Outraged Denver students ... DENVER (AP) -- Outraged Denver students and parents demanded better school security and pushed for tighter firearm controls Thursday, a day after a 17-year-old ...