At least a dozen states are moving to protect parental rights after numerous instances of secretive and damaging school policies that have kept parents in the dark about the wellbeing of their children.
According to the organization SAVE – Stop Abusive and Violent Environments – 12 states have introduced bills in just the past month to strengthen parental rights.
The legislation comes as a recent report in The New York Times of all places recounted several stories of parents being kept in the dark by schools over their children’s decision to “transition.”
The Times reported on a recent story out of Southern California. Jessica Bradshaw found out that her 15-year-old identified as transgender after she viewed his homework assignment bearing a different name.
After inquiring to their school, a counselor told Jessica that the school did not need to inform her of her daughter’s “transition,” nor did the school need her permission to treat her daughter as a son “because the student did not want [her] parents to know.” At that point, Jessica’s daughter had been identifying as the opposite sex for six months.
“District and state policies instruct the school to respect [her] wishes,” the Times notes.
“There was never any word from anyone to let us know that on paper, and in the classroom, our daughter was our son,” Mrs. Bradshaw said.
This phenomenon of schools either failing to obtain parental consent, or even inform parents, regarding their child’s “transition” has been occurring with increasing frequency thanks to district guidelines and state laws.
But conservative state lawmakers are looking to change the tide.
For example, in South Carolina, H. 3485 was introduced in the state legislature on January 10, 2023. It includes a provision that the government “shall not substantially burden the fundamental right of a parent to direct the upbringing, education, health care, and mental health of that parent’s child.”
The Daily Citizen spoke with Mitch Prosser, Vice President of the Palmetto Family Council, a Focus on the Family-allied organization. Mr. Prosser told us that while his organization hasn’t endorsed H. 3485 specifically, it does support any legislation promoting the rights of parents.
“We are all for parental rights,” Mr. Prosser said. “The best parents of children are parents. It’s not the government, it’s not public schools or public-school teachers. We believe that South Carolina should be a place where parents have the right to take care of their children as they see fit.”
In addition to South Carolina, SAVE reports that the following states have introduced legislation reaffirming the fundamental rights of parents:
Alabama: H.B. 6 prohibits the government from burdening certain fundamental rights of parents.
Hawaii: H.B. 1393 states, “Each parent in the State shall have the right to direct the upbringing, education, care, and welfare of the parent’s child.”
Indiana: H.B. 1407 affirms no government entity shall “infringe on the fundamental right of a parent to direct the upbringing, education, health care, and mental health of the parent’s child” without a “compelling governmental interest of the highest order.”
Minnesota: H.F. 682 seeks to amend the state Constitution to affirm that parents have a fundamental right to “direct the education of their child.”
Mississippi: H.B. 509 states, “The liberty of a parent to direct the upbringing, education, health care and mental health of that parent’s child is a fundamental right.”
New Hampshire: H.B. 10 establishes a “parental bill of rights.”
North Dakota: H.B. 1403 prohibits “governmental entities from interfering with parental rights.”
Texas: HJR 58 proposes an amendment to the state constitution that states in part: “A parent has the right to direct the education of the parent’s child…”
Several other states – Indiana, South Carolina, Texas and Utah – have also introduced bills requiring schools to notify parents of actions and decisions regarding their children’s health and wellbeing.
Additionally, three states – Indiana, Missouri and Oklahoma – have introduced bills regulating the content of curriculum related to “gender identity,” or ensuring parents have the right to know the content that their children are being taught.
And finally, in Indiana, state legislators have introduced H.B. 1407, which “protects a parent’s right to raise ‘the child consistent with the child’s biological sex.’”
SAVE notes that additional parental rights bills will be introduced in more states soon.
The Daily Citizen also spoke with John Helmberger, CEO of the Minnesota Family Council. He said: “Increasingly, we’re seeing that parental rights are under threat around the country and need to be safeguarded. Minnesota Family Council supports legislation like HF682 to clarify what we already know to be the case: that parents play THE key role in directing the education of their children.”
One of the best ways for elected officials and government leaders to push back against bad school and state policy, is with good policies and laws. It’s heartening that numerous states are moving to protect the right of parents to direct the care and upbringing of their children. Let’s pray and advocate for more states to soon follow suit.
It’s extremely important for parents to be intensely involved in their children’s education. Parents must be aware of what their children are learning in school.
If you’re worried about what your child is being taught in school, check out the following resource from Focus on the Family: Back to School for Parents: A busy parent’s guide to what’s happening in your children’s classrooms and practical steps you can take to protect them.
To find or contact your state policy group, click here.
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