The Wisconsin Senate Committee on Education just heard a bill that would implement vital protections for parental rights.

SB 962 establishes several parental and guardian rights relating to a child’s religion, medical care, and education, and states that parents may sue the government for violating any of these rights. The bill also appropriately states that parents’ inalienable rights include more than just the ones listed.

“The bill prohibits the state from infringing on the fundamental right of parents to direct the upbringing, education, health care, and mental health of their children without demonstrating that the infringement is required by a compelling governmental interest of the highest order as applied to the child, is narrowly tailored, and is not otherwise served by a less restrictive means,” reads the bill.

WFA President Julaine Appling testified in front of the committee in support of SB 962.

She noted that a parents’ bill of rights is crucial because “Children belong to parents. It is the responsibility of parents, not anyone else, to rear their children, to make important decisions for them, to care for them, to know anything and everything that concerns them.”

While a parents’ bill of rights should not be necessary, it unfortunately is. Parental rights have been under attack in our state and around the country for the last several years. Time and time again, the state has abused its power and infringed upon each of the 15 rights listed in this bill.

Julaine told the committee that our Declaration of Independence acknowledges God as the source of our “inalienable rights.” Because our rights come from Him, and not the state, government cannot infringe upon or transfer them.

She went on to note that our Declaration and Constitution don’t spell out parents’ rights because at the time of their signings, parental rights were considered “self evident.” However, times have changed and the state’s consistent infringements upon parental rights demonstrate the need to codify specific rights with Senate Bill 962.

Countless horror stories have emerged today about how schools have withheld critically important information from parents about their child. Some schools even instruct their staff to lie to parents in some instances.

Explicitly naming parents’ rights and making the state’s limitations abundantly clear are necessary for this reason and many more. “Furthermore, clarifying the legal standard by which to assess whether parents’ rights have been abrogated and creating a cause of action for parents is imperative. This is prudential law. No parent should be left defenseless when government tries to strip them of their right to decide what is best for their child,” continued Julaine.

The bill has already passed in the Assembly. Once it passes in the Senate, which will likely be next week, the proposal will go to the governor for signing. Please use this link to find your state senator and urge him/her to support SB 962. In order for faith, family, and freedom to thrive in Wisconsin, parental rights must be protected.

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