OH legislature introduces ‘Parents Bill of Rights’ to protect, preserve parents' fundamental role in education

House Bill 722 would require schools to "draft a policy that promotes parental involvement in their child’s education in honor of that policy

The Ohio state legislature introduced a bill last month that would prioritize the rights of parents over the school district when it comes to their kids mental health. 

State Representatives D.J. Swearingen, R-Huron, and Sara Carruthers, R-Hamilton, introduced in Ohio's General Assembly the "Parents’ Bill of Rights Act," to "protect and preserve the fundamental role that parents play in the education of their children."

House Bill 722 would require schools to "draft a policy that promotes parental involvement in their child’s education in honor of that policy, notify a parent of a change in their student’s services or monitoring related to the student’s mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being," and "prohibit school district personnel from discouraging or prohibiting parental involvement in critical decisions affecting a student’s mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being."

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A group of people protests outside the Ohio State House in Columbus, Ohio.

A group of people protests outside the Ohio State House in Columbus, Ohio. (REUTERS/Seth Herald)

Swearingen said the "focus is to ensure that parents are empowered to be involved in their child’s education both inside and outside the classroom."

"In Ohio, we value parents taking an active role in their child’s life. When parents are involved, their children succeed. When children succeed, the future of Ohio becomes brighter," he continued. 

The bill establishes a process for parents to file complaints to be resolved within a thirty-day period. After the parent complaint is filed, the school will notify the parents of their right to file such concerns.

HB 722 has yet to be assigned to a committee.

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"State officials should protect the idea that parents are their child’s primary caregivers," Heritage Foundation education fellow Jonathan Butcher told Fox News Digital.

"Earlier this year, at least one Ohio school district, Olentangy, adopted a policy to hide information about a child’s confusion over their sex from his or her parents—socially affirming a minor child’s choice to potentially make unalterable decisions about his or her body. Policies such as this crush the relationship children have with their family. Districts around the country, from New Jersey to California, are adopting similar policies. Public school officials must receive express permission from parents for any health-related decision about a child in school, including referrals for counseling and any medications," Butcher said.

US Senate Republican candidate JD Vance speaks to the crowd at a rally held by former U.S. president Donald Trump in Youngstown, Ohio, U.S., September 17, 2022.

US Senate Republican candidate JD Vance speaks to the crowd at a rally held by former U.S. president Donald Trump in Youngstown, Ohio, U.S., September 17, 2022. (REUTERS/Gaelen Morse)

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Butcher continued, "Parent bills of rights should affirm that a parent is a child’s primary caregiver, protect children from racial discrimination by rejecting the application of critical race theory in schools, require educators to receive parent permission before any health intervention, and make academic content transparent so that parents know what their children are being taught."

Earlier in the year, an Ohio school district adopted a policy restricting staff from informing parents about their child's transgender identity unless compelled to do so by law. Parents Defending Education in May obtained a "Transgender Guidelines" document that states "A student’s transgender status or gender assigned at birth is not considered directory information and therefore cannot be released without prior consent."

Parents protesting in Loudoun County, Virginia, on June 22, 2021. 

Parents protesting in Loudoun County, Virginia, on June 22, 2021.  (Reuters)

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The introduction of Ohio's parental rights bill comes after Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, R., updated "model policies" regarding the treatment of transgender students, claiming the previous guidelines "disregarded the rights of parents."

Virginia's Dept. of Education listed first under the "Guiding Principles" section that "parents have the right to make decisions with respect to their children" and the "policies shall be drafted to safeguard parents’ rights with respect to their child, and to facilitate the exercise of those rights."

The policies go on to cite the 14th Amendment, which gives parents a "fundamental right to direct the upbringing and education of their children."