Republican “False Forms Over Substance”; Publicity Stunt To Interfere With The Classroom; Form Merits An “F” By Educators

On Monday, July 11, New Mexico House Republican Caucus released a form they intend to send to all New Mexico parents with children in school.  The Republican caucus is  asking parents to send the form to the schools  to affirm their rights as  parents to have a say in  medical services, including abortion and gender-affirming care, and what instructional materials their children can receive while at school.

The form, which parents can sign and send to their students’ schools, offers an opportunity to lay out the types of information and health care services they want school personnel to tell them about before providing it to their children.  The Republican House caucus said the form comes in response to bills passed during the 2023 legislative session  year and they argue the legislation limits  parents’ involvement in such decisions.

Silver City area Republican Rep. Luis Terrazas said  hehopes school districts will honor parents requests. Terrazas said this:

“These bills cut at the very fabric of the family unit, and undermine [parental]  rights  when it comes to their children.”


The two bills passed this year that the Republican Caucus are upset about are House Bill 7  and Senate Bill 397.  Both bills  were hotly contested measures during the 2023 legislative session.

House Bill 7 is The Reproductive and Gender-Affirming Health Care Act.  This law Prohibits public bodies, including local municipalities, from denying, restricting, or discriminating against an individual’s right to use or refuse reproductive health care or health care related to gender.

Senate Bill 397  bill enshrines school-based health centers in state law.

House Bill 7  and Senate Bill 397 are among six total bills being targeted in a repeal effort by a coalition of Republican-leaning groups.


The letter sent to parents of school age children reads as follows:

Dear Parent,

New Mexico laws passed during the 2023 session (HB 7 and SB 397) could restrict both parental involvement regarding certain types of medical services and instructional materials provided to minors during the school day, regardless of age. Medical services include “gender affirming care,” psychiatric care, and abortion services.

The following form is designed to help parents and guardians explicitly exercise their right to be fully informed prior to their child accessing medical and behavioral health services, including some instructional materials. HB7 and SB397 can be found by clicking the links below.

Parents and guardians are responsible for making educational and health care decisions for their children until the child reaches the age of majority. A minor child cannot consent to his/her own educational decisions or medical treatment. It is important for parents/guardians to remain engaged and informed with school district staff to ensure their children are receiving the appropriate education and health care.

 Parent/guardian engagement ensures the highest standard of care.


1.  Carefully read and mark each check box for which you are requiring notification before your child participates in activities that might be occurring on the school campus.   

2. Sign the notification form.

3.  Make two copies of the signed form.

4.  Keep one copy for your personal records.

5.  Email one copy to your child’s school admin office, requesting that a copy be placed in your child’s permanent record with the school district.

Please note that current New Mexico law, NMSA 32A-6A-15, provides for a child 14 years of age or older to consent to certain behavioral and family therapy and counseling programs. 32A-6A-15(C) also states that “A clinician or other mental health and developmental disabilities professional shall promote the healthy involvement of a child’s legal custodians and family members in developing the child’s treatment plan, including appropriate treatment for children fourteen years of age or older.


NM House Republican Leadership


Below is the Parental/Guardian Notification and Consent School Form prepared by the Republican Caucus and sent to parents:


 I/We, __________________________________ the legal parent(s)/guardian(s) of,

__________________________________________________________: (Check all that apply.)

 [ ] Require prior notification before my child participates in, or is given access to, any health care services, referral for services, class, lesson, instruction, curriculum, assembly, guest speaker, activity, assignment, library material, online material, club, group, or association concerning transgender ideology, gender affirming care or gender identity.

 [ ] Require prior notification before my child participates in, or is given access to, any health care services, referral for services, class, lesson, instruction, curriculum, assembly, guest speaker, activity,assignment, library material, online material, club, group, or association concerning abortion.

 [ ] Require prior notification before my child participates in, or is given access to, any health care services, referral for services, class, lesson, instruction, curriculum, assembly, guest speaker, activity, assignment, library material, online material, club, group, or association concerning contraception and other family planning.

 [ ] Require prior notification before my child participates in, or is given access to, any health care services, referral for services, or association concerning primary health care.

[ ] Require prior notification before my child participates in, or is given access to, any health care services, referral for services, or association concerning mental or psychiatric care.

 If I am not given prior notification and the opportunity to make an informed decision concerning the wellbeing of my child, I withhold consent for the items checked above.

 ___________________________ ___________________________ ____________________

Printed Name Signature Date

 ___________________________ ___________________________ ____________________

 Printed Name Signature Date

 Please also note that any parental notification does not prevent the mandatory disclosure of certain circumstances to law enforcement or the Children, Youth, and Families Department as required by law.

The form is available on the New Mexico House Republican Campaign Committee website:

Click to access v2-Parental-Notification-Form-House-GOP-23-07-10.pdf


Republican State Representative Luis Terrazas, who represents Catron, Grant and Hidalgo counties, confirmed that the main target of the letter and the form is House Bill 7 which is the Reproductive and Gender-Affirming Health Care Act.  Terrazas  pointed out that  House Bill 7  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.”

According to Republican House members, House Bill 7  is unclear when it comes to parental notification and  the law never mentions parents or parental rights when it comes to knowing what is taught in schools. The letter says parents need to be notified when certain topics are discussed in class, such as abortion, gender identity, mental health care, or contraception.

Terrazas said this:

“This simple form …  is a parental notification and consent form that is free for you to download and print. … It asks school districts to keep parents informed on the curriculum, class discussions, and decisions that impact their child’s health care. … I recognize that there are some schools and districts that have policies that do not require notification … 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.”

During the press conference announcing the form letter, Republican Representative Terrazas was asked where he sees an effort to conceal medical services or instructional materials provided to students from their parents in the language of the bills.  Terrazas was not able to point to any specific language, saying the form mainly seeks to let parents be explicit about their wishes. He said this:

“There hasn’t been any clarity. And so this form, that’s exactly what it does … It just gives a parent the right look over the form, decide what they want to participate or not participate and submit it … so that we get a clear directive of what they’re comfortable or not comfortable with. … Even if these issues weren’t ambiguous in the law, why is it a problem for parents to ask to be notified about what their children are being presented in the classroom?”


HB 7 sponsor Democrat Rep. Linda Serrato of Santa Fe  said neither bill mentions any sort of confidentiality from guardians nor makes a specific provision allowing school personnel to speak with children about things such as abortion services or gender-affirming care without parental approval.

“HB 7  doesn’t touch on that at all, to be quite frank. … It simply says that you can get gender-affirming and reproductive health care and that they can’t persecute you or prosecute you.”

According to Serrato, the closest either bill comes to confidentiality from parents or guardians is in HB 7, which states that public bodies or people working on their behalf cannot deny, restrict or interfere with someone’s access to such services.  She noted that  even that language  “doesn’t broach” interfering with parents’ involvement and she said this:

“It feels to me … like more of what you’d see out of Florida than out of New Mexico, because it just feels like a way to get attention that could actually really hurt people. … It definitely misleads individuals on what this bill does.”

Rep. Linda Serrato issued 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.”


Albuquerque Public Schools do not provide heath care to their students, and leave all health care decisions up to parents. APS spokeswoman Monica Armenta told the Albuquerque Journal that APS does not provide the medical care or education the House Republicans are targeting in their letter. Armenta said it’s too soon to tell how the forms would be treated by APS but she did point to a district policy calling for provisions to be made “for review of student or parent objections to presentations or to print or multimedia instructional materials” about controversial or sensitive issues.

Links to quoted news sources are here:


The New Mexico Republican Party is working with three  conservative organizations and a petition drive and referendum process to repeal the legislation. Those 3 organizations are the  New Mexico Family Action Movement, the  “Better Together New Mexico”  and the “New Mexico Business Coaltion”. 

The 6  laws targeted for repeal took effect on June 16, including the bill barring discrimination against individuals seeking abortion services and a separate bill shielding nurses and doctors who provide abortions from criminal investigation. The 6 bills targeted for repeal by petition drive referendum are:

House Bill 7: Prohibit public bodies from blocking access to abortion services and gender-affirming care.

Senate Bill 13: Shield doctors and nurses who provide abortion services and gender-affirming care from civil or criminal legal liability.

Senate Bill 397: Enshrine school-based health centers in state law.

House Bill 207: Expand scope of state’s Human Rights Act to cover gender identity.

House Bill 4: Change voting laws by expanding automatic voter registration and establishing permanent absentee voter list.

Senate Bill 180: Update state’s election laws by establishing mandatory training for poll watchers and clarifying process for updating voter rolls.

Governor  Michelle Lujan Grisham signed the six bills in question into law. She also defended the six bills, saying they were passed by duly elected lawmakers to benefit state residents.  The Governor’s spokeswoman Caroline Sweeney said this:

“Gov. Lujan Grisham signed these six bills because she knows, unequivocally, they will do good for thousands of New Mexicans so they can have healthy, productive lives, and participate fully in their communities as their true selves.”


The action of the New Mexico House Republican Caucus in sending out their letter and form is a clear case of “False Forms Over Substance”.  Both should be treated as nothing more than a publicity stunt that should be ignored by all the school districts in the state.  The letter and the so called  Parental Consent Form is yet another example of the extreme lengths the  Republican Party and extreme right wing organizations  will go to oppose Democrat initiatives and interfere with the legislative process.

It is painfully obvious that when Republicans are not successful at the ballot box, are not successful in the legislative process, they revert to the courts, petition drives and publicity stunts such sending letters and forms to parents of school age children to make false claims and gin up animosity. The problem with this latest Republican publicity stunt is that it is an attempt to interfere with public education by creating animosity between parents and the school systems.  The Republican Caucus Parental/Guardian Notification and Consent School Form needs to be given an “F” by all educators.

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Pete Dinelli was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is of Italian and Hispanic descent. He is a 1970 graduate of Del Norte High School, a 1974 graduate of Eastern New Mexico University with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and a 1977 graduate of St. Mary's School of Law, San Antonio, Texas. Pete has a 40 year history of community involvement and service as an elected and appointed official and as a practicing attorney in Albuquerque. Pete and his wife Betty Case Dinelli have been married since 1984 and they have two adult sons, Mark, who is an attorney and George, who is an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Pete has been a licensed New Mexico attorney since 1978. Pete has over 27 years of municipal and state government service. Pete’s service to Albuquerque has been extensive. He has been an elected Albuquerque City Councilor, serving as Vice President. He has served as a Worker’s Compensation Judge with Statewide jurisdiction. Pete has been a prosecutor for 15 years and has served as a Bernalillo County Chief Deputy District Attorney, as an Assistant Attorney General and Assistant District Attorney and as a Deputy City Attorney. For eight years, Pete was employed with the City of Albuquerque both as a Deputy City Attorney and Chief Public Safety Officer overseeing the city departments of police, fire, 911 emergency call center and the emergency operations center. While with the City of Albuquerque Legal Department, Pete served as Director of the Safe City Strike Force and Interim Director of the 911 Emergency Operations Center. Pete’s community involvement includes being a past President of the Albuquerque Kiwanis Club, past President of the Our Lady of Fatima School Board, and Board of Directors of the Albuquerque Museum Foundation.