Legislation ensures parents receive access to material, rights to notifications
The News: Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) Director of Education Policy, Libby Sobic, is testifying in favor of a Parent Bill of Rights under consideration in the Assembly Committee on Education. AB 963, introduced by Representative Gundrum and Senator Darling, establishes a statutory and legal right for parents and guardians to make the best decisions for an individual child and their education.
- Assembly Committee on Education, February 10, 2022, 10:00 am
- Senate Committee on Education, TBD
The Quote: WILL Director of Education Policy, Libby Sobic, said, “The experience in recent years has energized many parents to take a greater interest in curriculum and classroom activities. But this interest hasn’t always been respected by public-school districts. This legislation establishes parental rights in education by ensuring parents are equal partners in their child’s education by granting them greater access to information and participation.”
Parent Bill of Rights: In recent years, WILL has represented several public-school parents after their local public schools established policies and procedures that undermined the parent’s rights to make decisions about their child’s education, healthcare and overall welfare. AB 963 is a response to this common experience for Wisconsin’s public-school parents.
- Right to review educational materials and access to learning materials: This legislation empowers parents to have access to learning materials used in the education of their child. This is vital as parents continue to engage with their child’s teachers and school administrators.
- Right to determine the names and pronouns used for the child while at school: WILL has two active lawsuits, representing public-school parents, against the Madison Metropolitan School District and Kettle Moraine School District regarding the districts’ policy on gender pronouns and student nicknames. The legislation ensures that parents are not in the dark about serious and important medical decisions regarding their child.
- Right to opt out and be notified about educational topics: This legislation provides parents with options to decide their own child’s educational experience and learning materials based on whether the material violates the parent’s religious or personal convictions.
- Right to be notified about surveys to students: Federal law protects students from being required to participate in any sort of “survey, analysis, or evaluation” that divulges information concerning, among other things, political affiliations or beliefs of the student or the student’s parent; legally recognized privileged relationships, such as that between a physician and a patient; and religious practices, affiliations, or beliefs of the student or student’s parent.”
- Right to be notified about student safety and incidents of violence: The legislation requires a school to notify parents about security updates, disciplinary actions taken against their child and if crimes or acts of violence occur on school campus.
- Establishes a legal right to direct the education of their child: This legislation creates a legal standard for state infringement on fundamental rights of parents and guardians through specific items enumerated in the bill. It also gives parents and guardians a way to hold the district accountable for their actions by suing the district who fails to comply with this bill.