ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – After a heated discussion on a controversial policy, the KB1 Parents Rights and Responsibilities Policy, the Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) Board voted to approve it. However, the board said it’s nothing new, and the policy has always been in place.
The proposal has been stirring up a debate for months about whether it could cause problems for LGBT students, but board members said it only streamlines existing policies.
“This doesn’t change anything within APS. It just lets you know where you can go to get answers,” said School Board Member Courtney Jackson.
The proposal was first introduced back in July, listing the rights and responsibilities of parents if their child attends an APS school. Board members said it mostly brings bits and pieces of existing policies together in one place.
“The reason for that was one to create transparency for our families and our students, but also to create ease of access,” Jackson said.
The board approved the proposal, which states parents can request their students’ educational records if it falls under Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Those can include grades, attendance, and other information, including counseling and health records.
The policy sparked concern among some in the APS community, who worried schools would be handing over sensitive conversations between students and counselors about sexuality and gender identity.
They argued that could put students at risk at home, but board members explained those confidential conversations are still protected.
“As far as our counselors are concerned, they work under their own set of guidelines, and they are well aware of the records and the conversations that they are allowed to disclose, and they are not,” Jackson said.
Officials said under current policy, if a student does not feel safe at home, they can let a school official know without their parents being informed. An earlier version of this proposal said it was the responsibility of teachers to be “good role models.” That wording was removed after community members raised concerns about who gets to define a “good role model.”
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The school board said this move was meant to boost student performance by encouraging parents to be more involved. New Mexico is still ranked dead last when it comes to education.