We have witnessed some very disturbing actions this past year!
A local mother was brushed off, then handed a bill for $27,000 for her public records requests, and finally sued by the teacher’s union. All because she wanted to know what was being taught in her child’s school.
The National School Boards Association encouraged the White House to crack down on parents who attend school committee meetings. Our own RI chapter asked that these parents be considered ‘domestic terrorists’. And alarmingly, our nation’s Attorney General agreed!
The National Education Association, the largest teacher’s union in the country, sent a letter to social media companies encouraging them to silence anyone criticizing Critical Race Theory or other educational concerns, like the sexualization of young children or hiding misconduct from parents.
I have personally received calls and met with parents whose legitimate concerns have been rebuffed by principals and teachers alike. I have spoken with concerned community members who have been openly lied to about the existence of CRT in our schools.
One mother was kept in the dark for over 6 months about her child being called by a name and pronouns of their non-biologic gender. She only learned of the deceit when an email was sent to her in error. Her child is suffering from gender dysphoria and should have had the help of a trained and competent mental health expert. Instead, she got the twisted diagnosis of a woke ideology that caused this child further confusion and perhaps long-lasting harm.
All of this is UNACCEPTABLE.
This bill enshrines the Rights of Parents in Rhode Island’s General Laws. This law makes it clear to all parents and to the educators, healthcare and other professionals who interact with their children what the rights of parents are.
They are fundamental, comprehensive, and inalienable. It is parents who have the privilege and responsibility to direct the upbringing, the education, the physical and mental healthcare of their children. Those rights may not be limited or denied by government.
This bill seeks to list all these rights, but there may be more. The bottom line: PARENTS HAVE THE ABSOLUTE RIGHT TO DIRECT ALL ASPECTS OF THEIR CHILDREN’S CARE. That includes their education, their upbringing, their moral and religious training, their physical and mental health care.
To fulfill their responsibility, parents have the right to enroll their child in any educational program they deem best. They have the right to access and review records, curricula, classroom materials, books, and instructional processes and methods. They have the right to be informed in a timely manner when surveys, videos, DNA collection, medical procedures, sexual or race-blaming topics are being presented and, more importantly, their permission must be secured in writing. They have the right to opt their child out of any instruction or practice, that, in their opinion, is harmful to their child.
Schools must develop and adopt policies that involve parents in the education of their children and also create robust procedures for parents to object and opt-out. Parents must be accorded transparency and cooperation. Their wishes must be followed.
I asked Rhode Island State Senator Elaine Morgan to introduce the bill in her chamber and she readily agreed. Together we have improved a few small parts of it, that I hardily approve.
But it will not be passed without citizen support! Legislators in both the House and Senate need to hear that you want this bill to become law.
Contact your Representative and Senator, the Speaker, and the Senate President. You can find their contact information on the rilegislature.gov website. Don’t forget the Governor, as well. Let them know you are watching, and you want this Parent’s Bill of Rights made law this year! An election happens in the fall.