Ohio’s Parents Bill of Rights Act

Ohio Representative Sara Carruthers is pushing her new ‘Parents Bill of Rights Act’ that she says would ensure public schools are transparent with parents on how they educate their children.

Carruthers notes the legislation may have a name similar to more restrictive bills across the country, but this one is different. Supporters of the bill note many parents across Ohio believe schools have a responsibility to provide notification and transparency on certain materials before they are taught in the classroom. Additionally, they expect schools to keep parents updated as it relates to a student’s health records.

According to the bill, schools would be required to draft a policy that promotes and supports parental involvement. Schools would also be required to notify a parent of a change in their student’s services or monitoring related to mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being. Further, the school districts would be asked to prohibit school personnel from discouraging parental involvement as it relates to critical decisions affecting a student’s mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being.

According to the current proposal of the legislation, schools would also be required to notify parents before beginning instruction about “materials that include sexually explicit content and identify the specific instructional material and sexually explicit subjects.” Should a parent disagree with the content, alternative learning materials must be provided by the school. Carruthers added that House Bill 722 would not stop instruction that is age-appropriate and pushes that it helps illuminate transparency.

The bill is awaiting assignment to a committee. The General Assembly does not return until after the November general election.

Michaela Thomas Reporting

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