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Discrimination Of LGBT Students Not Specifically Prohibited In Proposed Law

Photo: Desks and book bags in a classroom
Thomas Favre Bulle via Flickr

The state House of Representatives has sent Gov. Pat McCrory a bill updating laws on charter schools.  This comes over the objections of Democrats who asked that LGBT students be specifically protected from discrimination.

Democrats asked that Senate Bill 793 include a provision preventing charter schools, which are run by private companies with tax-payer money, from barring the admission of students who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

Republicans rejected the need to specifically address LGBT students in the governance of charter schools. Rep. David Lewis (R-Dunn) said state law already prohibits any type of discrimination. But Rep. Marcus Brandon (D-Guilford), citing the case of a Wilmington private school that publicly denounced "homosexual activity," said charter schools could discriminate if the governor signs the bill.

"The problem in the state of North Carolina is that the LGBT community is not a protected class," Brandon said.

Senate Bill 793, which passed in the House on a vote of 62-36, clarifies that charter schools are required to disclose the names and salaries of teachers and non-profit board of directors.  However, the wording of the bill, as many legislators pointed out, excludes employees hired by for-profit management companies that run charter schools. The governor didn't make statements Friday whether he would sign the bill.

Clarification July 29, 12:40 a.m.: This article has been updated to clarify that under the General Assembly's proposed charter school modifications, employees of for-profit companies that are contracted to manage charter schools would not be subject to public disclosure rules. The bill states that only “charter school personnel records for those employees directly employed by the board of directors for the charter school” are subject to disclosure requirements.

Jorge Valencia has been with North Carolina Public Radio since 2012. A native of Bogotá, Colombia, Jorge studied journalism at the University of Maryland and reported for four years for the Roanoke Times in Virginia before joining the station. His reporting has also been published in the Wall Street Journal, the Miami Herald, and the Baltimore Sun.
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