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UPDATED

Restoring parental rights

By M.D. Kittle

MADISON — As concerns grow about radical left indoctrination in Wisconsin’s schools, a bill moving through the Legislature aims to create a Parental Bill of Rights.

“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,” Libby Sobic, director of Education policy for the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty said during testimony Thursday at an Assembly committee hearing on the bill.

“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,” she added.

Assembly Bill 963 would codify the rights “reserved to the parent of a child without interference from the state or other governmental entity.” Parents would have the right to:

› Be informed of crimes on school grounds.

› Determine a child’s medical care

› Review instructional materials and outlines

› Decide what name and pronouns their child can use at school

› Engage with locally elected school board members of the school district a child attends

The bill, sure to be vetoed by liberal Gov. Tony Evers if it passes, moves through the Legislature as the pandemic and virtual learning opened a lot of parents’ eyes to what their children are being taught in public schools. It also arrives as the Biden administration weaponizes the Department of Justice to go after parents and community members who speak out against policies and curriculum at school board meetings. Case in point, the Lodi School District, where school officials called police on parents after an attorney addressed the school board about its stringent mask and quarantine policies.

The Madison Metropolitan School District was sued for its guidance/policy allowing children of any age to transition to a different gender identity at school — without parental consent. That lawsuit, among a growing number of similar litigation, is now before the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Parents and guardians would have wider latitude in suing schools and bureaucracies that violate their rights under the bill.

“It’s vital that we as parents are in charge of our children’s education, and this starts with ensuring we have the necessary legal rights and that they are protected by law,” parent Haley Sweeney said of the bill. Sweeney is among more than 120 Wisconsin parents who signed letter of support led by the Institute for Reforming Government (IRG Action Fund). “This legislation underscores the important, yet seemingly forgotten fact that parents, not the state, should always have the first and last say in any matter involving our children.”

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