A so-called “parents’ bill of rights” (HB 1059) is one step closer to the House floor after being approved by a committee Thursday.
The bill, which could limit student access to sex education, gives parents rights to information even when their children are in school, positing that “important information relating to a minor child should not be withheld, either inadvertently or purposefully, from his or her parent, including information relating to the minor child’s health, well-being, and education, while the minor child is in the custody of the school district.”
Barring a “narrowly defined … state interest,” the legislation asserts parental prerogatives regarding how to educate the child (including homeschooling), how to guide the child’s religious grounding, the right to see all school or governmental records of the child, and a consent requirement ahead of taking the child’s blood or DNA.
The Health and Human Services Committee approved the legislation, championed by Rep. Erin Grall, over some Democratic objections.
It has one committee stop ahead of a floor vote.
The bill could limit sexual education in schools in cases where a parent objects to the subject matter. It could also make it easier for parents to opt-out of vaccinating their children. Supporters say it’s necessary to ensure parents retain the right to raise their children independent of government interference while also maintaining reasonable child welfare protections. But critics worry it could strip kids of inclusive education.
The legislation blocks students from receiving medical care unless schools have their parents’ consent or in the event of a medical emergency. The bill could give parents additional authority to object to classroom materials and opt their children out of learning some health education information like sexual orientation or HIV/AIDS.
The Senate version of the legislation (SB 1634), carried by Sen. Kelli Stargel, has two committee stops to go before consideration by the full legislative body.