Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Parents Bill of Rights Act by a vote of 213-208 “to ensure the rights of parents are honored and protected in the Nation’s public schools,” according to the bill’s text. Wisconsin’s six Republican representatives (Bryan Steil, Derrick Van Orden, Scott Fitzgerald, Glenn Grothman, Tom Tiffany, Mike Gallagher) voted in favor of the bill, while the two Democrats (Mark Pocan, Gwen Moore) voted against it.
Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) urged his colleagues to vote for the bill, saying that it would empower parents to always remain aware of what their children are learning in school and how their taxpayer money is being spent.
“Once you are a parent, you will give your life for your child,” said McCarthy. “You have a right to get the basic information about your children’s education….the Parents Bill of Rights is an important step towards protecting children and dramatically strengthening the rights of parents.”
The Parents Bill of Rights outlines five key rights that all parents nationwide should have, including the right to know what’s being taught in schools and to see reading material, the right to be heard, the right to see a school’s budget and spending, the right to protect their child’s privacy, and the right to be updated on any violent activity at school.
This is common sense legislation that would help protect children from activist teaching by empowering parents to be involved.
This bill comes in response to the many school districts across the country, including a numbere in Wisconsin, that have been caught hiding or withholding pertinent information about students from their parents.
For example, last year the Eau Claire Area School District was sued for directing teachers and school staff to allow students to change their preferred pronouns, name, and “gender identity” without parental involvement.
Similarly, in November of 2021, the Kettle Moraine School District (KMSD) was sued for a policy that allows minor students to “transition genders” at school, even despite the parents’ objection. A hearing for this case is scheduled for April 19th, and a ruling is expected in the late spring or summer.
In a third case, the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) was sued for its policies that allow children to change their “gender identity” at school without parental notice or consent. The policy also instructs district staff to hide information about students’ “gender identity” from parents. This case is ongoing after the Wisconsin Supreme Court sent it back to the Dane County Circuit Court for further action.
Across the nation, there are at least 6,000 schools that allow or require teachers to hide students’ “gender identity” from parents. Clearly, a parental bill of rights is urgently needed.
While the Wisconsin Constitution protects the “inherent right” of parents to “direct the upbringing and education of children under their control,” it’s clear that parental rights need more protection. A relatively strong Parents’ Rights Bill passed in the Wisconsin legislature last session, but Governor Evers vetoed it. The Assembly author, Rep. Rick Gundrum (R-Slinger), has indicated an interest in introducing the bill again this session.
While legislation can certainly help, parents should never rely on it alone to keep their children safe from harmful ideologies. Parents should always remain deeply involved and keenly aware of what is going on in the classroom and during any meetings with school staff. For the sake of children’s safety and well-being, parents must be the primary decision-makers when it comes to their children’s upbringing, education, and mental health.
It’s also crucial that parents make their voices heard during this year’s Supreme Court election on April 4th. The balance of our State Supreme Court is on the line, which is our last chance and our strongest defense against liberal policies that have resulted in gross violations of parental rights and put our children at great risk in public schools.