JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Today, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt proposed a Parents’ Bill of Rights ahead of the next legislative session in January. The Parents’ Bill of Rights would protect parents’ rights to have a well-informed say in their children’s education, strengthen parents’ abilities to take action related to their children’s education, and increase transparency in Missouri’s schools.
“A quality education is at the core of a child’s early development and in their long-term success in life. Parents have every right to play a central role in their children’s education, are entitled to critical information about what is being taught and must have the tools necessary to take action when they feel that the quality and content of how their children are being educated does not align with the values and expectations they expect and deserve,” said Attorney General Schmitt. “The Parents’ Bill of Rights empowers parents, and increases transparency in school curricula and materials. It is my hope that the legislature will pass this crucial legislation to improve education for millions of children across the state.”
Ahead of the upcoming legislative session, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt is working with lawmakers to craft this much-needed addition to state law. The proposed bill would give parents a right to know about and approve of their child’s health care decisions, have access to health and mental health records, educational materials and curriculum, and would require parents to consent to biometric scans, DNA extractions, and video/voice recordings. The legislation would give parents a right to be notified of investigations involving their child.
As part of the Parents’ Bill of Rights, each school will be required to develop a policy that would guarantee parents a right to:
- Participate in their child’s education;
- View the curriculum their child is being taught;
- Receive information on all extracurricular clubs at the school;
- Receive information on school choice, including Missouri Empowerment Scholarships Accounts;
- Understand the process to exempt their child from immunizations; and
- Receive information about enrolling their child in individual educational plans or gifted programs.
Further, the Parents’ Bill of Rights would require the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to develop a Missouri Transparency Portal that would track and create easy access for parents to view:
- School curriculum;
- Other related source materials;
- Professional development trainings for teachers; and
- A list of speakers and guest lecturers within each school and related costs.
Lastly, the Parents’ Bill of Rights would be enforced by the Attorney General’s Office filing a lawsuit in Cole County or in the county of the school district in question., The legislation also creates a legal right for parents to file lawsuits against school districts that violate the law.
The Missouri Attorney General’s Office previously filed Sunshine Law lawsuits against Springfield Public Schools and the Moberly School District for failing to turn over records related to Critical Race Theory and IEP recording policies, respectively.