The Washington state legislature on Monday passed a Parents’ Bill of Rights to protect parental involvement in the state’s education system.

Washington’s Initiative 2081 ensures parents can review and oversee what their children are being taught in public schools, and it protects parental rights in several important ways. The initiative:

  • Ensures parents have the right to examine all textbooks, curriculum and supplemental material used in their child’s classrooms.
  • Guarantees parents can inspect their child’s academic, medical, mental health, counseling, attendance and disciplinary records.
  • Confirms parents must receive prior notification when medical services are being offered or arranged for their child, except for emergency medical services.
  • Gives parents the option to opt their child out of instruction on topics associated with sexual activity, assignments and questionnaires related to the child’s sexual experiences or attractions, or surveys that include questions about the child’s family beliefs, morality, religion or political affiliations.

The passage of Initiative 2081 comes as a rare win for conservatives in the far-left Evergreen State.

Surprisingly, the legislation was approved overwhelmingly by both houses of the Washington State Legislature. The initiative passed the Senate unanimously and was approved by the House in an 82-15 vote.

Sen. Lisa Wellman, D-Mercer Island, said, “This initiative seeks to clarify all these rights and inform parents in plain and straightforward terms what they can expect to know about their children while they’re in school.”

The legislation was approved after Washington state citizens sent the initiative to the state legislature. Washington permits citizens to gather signatures to send a measure to the state legislature for consideration.

In addition to Initiative 2081, the state legislature also enacted two other initiatives on the same day that are backed by conservatives and were sent to the legislature by citizen-led initiatives.

Initiative 2111 prohibits Washington state and local governments from taxing personal income; it passed the Senate in a 38-11 vote and the House by a 76-21 margin. And Initiative 2113 gives police in Washington more leeway to pursue suspected criminals; it passed the Senate in a 36-13 vote and sailed through the House by a 77-20 margin.

Because the legislation was passed through the citizen-led initiative process, the initiatives do not require the governor’s signature to be enacted. The initiatives take effect 90 days after the state legislature adjourns for the year – expected to happen on March 7. Therefore, all three initiatives should take effect in June.

According to the Washington State Standard, the passage of three initiatives in one day is “historic,” especially since state lawmakers “have only enacted citizen initiatives about a half-dozen times during the past 110 years.”

Three more initiatives were sent to the Washington legislature which the state’s lawmakers did not approve – bills to repeal the state’s capital gains tax, end the Climate Commitment Act and its carbon market, and make it easier for workers to opt out of the state’s new long-term care insurance program, the Standard reports. Instead, these measures will go before voters this fall.

The enactment of a Parents’ Bill of Rights in Washington state is heartening news for children and parents alike. Parents have the God-given right to direct the care and upbringing of their children – it’s good when the law recognizes this fact.

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.

Focus on the Family offers a free, one-time counseling consultation with a licensed or pastoral counselor. To request a counseling consultation, call 1-855-771-HELP (4357) or fill out our Counseling Consultation Request Form.

Related articles and resources:

Back to School for Parents

Counseling Consultation & Referrals

Transgender Resources

Understanding Homosexuality

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