parents bill of rights

by Catherine Mortensen

Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) introduced the Parents’ Bill of Rights Act to defend parents’ fundamental rights against efforts to shut them out of their children’s education. Senator Hawley’s bill would empower parents to sue federally-funded schools that do not protect certain fundamental rights, such as the right to know what their child is being taught and the right to know what outside groups are receiving school contracts.

“America has long recognized the right of parents to direct their children’s education, but we are now seeing a concerted effort by the Left to shut parents out,’ Hawley said. “Whether it’s Joe Biden’s Justice Department attempting to classify parents as ‘domestic terrorists’ or activists funded by dark money who seek to quietly introduce critical race theory into school curricula, education has taken a back seat to radical politics in many schools and parents are taking notice. It’s time to give control back to parents, not woke bureaucrats, and empower them to start a new era of openness in education.”

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The Parents’ Bill of Rights Act will empower parents to enforce the following rights against school systems receiving federal dollars:

  1. The right to know what their minor child is being taught in school, including, but not limited to, curricula, books, and other instructional materials.
    • School and school districts shall be prohibited from requiring non-disclosure agreements or similar forms for parental review of curricula and shall instead allow parents to make copies of curriculum documents.
  2. The right to information on who is teaching their minor child, including guest lecturers and outside presenters.
    • Schools and school districts shall allow student involvement in school assemblies, field trips, and other extracurricular activities only if parents opt-in rather than opt-out.
  3. The right to information on individuals and organizations receiving school contracts and funding.
  4. The right to visit the school and check in on their minor child during school hours.
  5. The right to all school records, medical or otherwise, concerning their minor child.
  6. The right to information about the collection and transmission of their minor child’s data.
    • Schools and school districts shall obtain parental consent before collecting any biometric data or other sensitive personal information on the minor child.
  7. The right to have sufficient accountability and transparency regarding school boards.
    • School board meetings about curricula, safety, and other student issues shall be held in public and allow for public comments.
  8. The right to know about situations affecting their minor child’s safety in school.
    • Parents shall be notified in a timely manner of all reported incidents about student safety, including all crimes or misdemeanors committed by teachers or other school employees.

Under Hawley’s bill, parents will be empowered to sue schools that do not protect these rights for injunctive relief. A pattern of such violations in a particular jurisdiction will trigger significant reductions in federal education funding.

In the House, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Education and Labor Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (NC-05), Rep. Julia Letlow (LA-05), Rep. Burgess Owens (UT-04), and Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Banks (IN-03) officially rolled out a Parents Bill of Rights to ensure parents have the influence and transparency they deserve.

“Over the past nearly two years, we have seen a troubling trend take root in the Democrat Party,” McCarthy said. “Their elected officials want to take power away from parents and hand over more control to politicians and teachers unions to dictate what our children should be taught in classrooms.”

“As a mom of two and a former educator, I firmly believe that the relationship between parents and schools should be collaborative, not adversarial,” Rep. Letlow said. “Education is not a job just parents or schools can do by themselves. It requires us to work together. This bill not only contains common-sense ideas, but it also fully opens the door for those partnerships.”

H.R. 6056 already has 73 cosponsors.

Americans for Limited Government President Richard Manning applauds this effort to return power to parents.

“The Left has made schools a cultural battleground for decades by indoctrinating our children with woke propaganda,” Manning said. “I am glad to see that conservatives are fully engaged in the fight. We must stop President Biden’s Department of Justice from targeting parents at school board meetings at the behest of an interest group that labeled concerned parents as “domestic terrorists.”

Voters in Virginia made parental rights a significant issue in the recent gubernatorial election in which Democrat Terry McAuliffe suggested in a campaign debate that parents shouldn’t have a say in their kids’ education. Opponent Glenn Youngkin won the election, helped in part by saying he would return power to parents.

 Cross-posted with Conservative Firing Line

parents bill of rights