After a failed attempt last year, advocates of the Parents’ Bill of Rights (PBR) succeeded this session in passing legislation (SB 49) that enshrines parental rights and helps to correct the current imbalance of power between parents and schools across North Carolina. The elation of advocates was short-lived however, as Gov. Cooper vetoed the legislation on July 5. The House is currently waiting to reschedule a veto override vote.

How do North Carolinians feel about PBR legislation? This spring, the John Locke Foundation commissioned a poll of parents and asked that question. What did we find?

Sixty-two percent of respondents supported a PBR, and 27% of respondents opposed it. That is, parents favor PBR legislation by a margin of more than two to one.

Support for PBR is strong across political divisions. Sixty-nine percent of Democrats supported a PBR, along with 63% of Republicans. Independent support for a PBR was slightly less (45% of respondents) but still represented a plurality.

Over half of respondents who support a PBR (36%) say they do so because it “enumerates important parental rights regarding student medical and psychological records and bans all instruction on gender identity, sexual activity and sexuality in kindergarten through grade four.”

Of course, there are folks who disagree. A little over a quarter of respondents said they “oppose” a PBR. Another 11 % responded “unsure,” a comparatively high number for such a question. Why do parents oppose a PBR? Respondents were generally divided between two responses. Approximately 15% of respondents said they oppose a PBR because they believe “schools and parents must be equal partners in educating and raising kids. The Parents’ Bill of Rights significantly reduces the role and influence of the school in those efforts.”

Another 12% of respondents said they oppose a PBR because it “targets LGBTQ students or would require schools to tell parents who may not support a child’s decision to gender transition.” This group includes Republicans (9%), Democrats (11%), and Independents (20%). Other relevant categories include the 18-34 age cohort (12%)), the college educated (12%), urban residents (10%), and those in the 35-49 age cohort (14%).

The mainstream press calls the PBR “controversial” although it’s perplexing how legislation supported by nearly two-thirds of respondents can be called controversial. The public narrative against the PBR in the culture is driven largely by LGBTQ advocates. While the public discussion of the topic is contentious and vocal, a review of the poll numbers says otherwise.