Hawley introduces Parents’ Bill of Rights to protect parental involvement in schools

This week, Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) introduced The Parents’ Bill of Rights Act, which if passed, will codify parental rights into federal law. As a means of holding school systems accountable,…

This week, Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) introduced The Parents’ Bill of Rights Act, which if passed, will codify parental rights into federal law. As a means of holding school systems accountable, Senator Hawley’s bill empowers parents to sue federally funded schools.

“America has long recognized the right of parents to direct their children’s education but we are now seeing a concerted effort by the Left to shut parents out,” says Hawley. “It’s time to give control back to parents, not woke bureaucrats, and empower them to start a new era of openness in education.”

Under The Parents’ Bill of Rights Act, parents will be entitled to the right to know what material their child is being taught, know who is teaching their child, and visit their child during school hours, among other rights.

This act comes in the wake of the National School Board Association’s (NSBA) letter to the Biden administration, suggesting some concerned parents at school board meetings are “domestic terrorists.” This letter led to Attorney General Merrick Garland commissioning the FBI to investigate the parents in question.

The recent political shockwave in Virginia is indicative of the current climate around education. The Democrat candidate for governor, Terry McAuliffe, stated in a debate, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.” In a post-election survey, a Republican firm involved in the race found that 54% of all voters said that McAuliffe’s statement was a factor in their decision. Of those who decided in the final week, 81% said the statement was a factor. Most of those voters ended up supporting Republican Glenn Youngkin in the race that ultimately was decided by 1.9%.

The firestorm over parental rights is not just confined to Virginia. Stories of school boards attempting to shield parents from their child’s education have popped up across the country.

In Pennsylvania, one school district refused to release the racial equity curriculum they were teaching. In Missouri, a St. Louis school district “plotted with a critical race theory advocate on how to keep parents in the dark about their efforts to inject leftwing social justice advocacy into their classrooms.” Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) has even weighed in, stating, “I’ve long said that school choice is the civil rights issue of the 21st century, and the spread of CRT in our schools powerfully illustrates that point.

“Parents will be empowered to sue schools that do not protect these rights for injunctive relief,” Josh Hawley says. “A pattern of such violations in a particular jurisdiction will trigger major reductions in federal education funding.” 

The full list of rights in Hawley’s proposal is as follows:

  • The right to know what their minor child is being taught in school, including, but not limited to, curricula, books, and other instructional materials.
  • The right to information on who is teaching their minor child, including guest lecturers and outside presenters.
  • The right to information on individuals and organizations receiving school contracts and funding.
  • The right to visit the school and check in on their minor child during school hours.
  • The right to all school records, medical or otherwise, concerning their minor child. 
  • The right to information about the collection and transmission of their minor child’s data.
  • The right to have sufficient accountability and transparency regarding school boards.
  • The right to know about situations affecting their minor child’s safety in schools.