JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri (LifeSiteNews) — Republicans in the Missouri House have given preliminary approval to a bill establishing a “parents’ bill of rights” regarding exposure of children to objectionable material that would be enforced by lawsuits and loss of public funds.
HB 1858 gives parents the rights to “review curricula, books, and instructional materials”; to “visit school during school hours with restrictions”; and to “have sufficient accountability and transparency regarding school boards,” according to its legislative summary. It also places restrictions on various actions by school districts, including nondisclosure agreements on curriculum review, parental consent for extracurricular activities, data collection, and more.
To facilitate curriculum transparency, the bill requires education officials to post curricula online as well as set up “an Internet-based tool to give access to every school district’s curriculum, source materials, and professional development materials.”
Critically, the bill also forbids compelling “teachers or students to discuss public policy issues without consent,” or compelling them “to adopt, affirm, or profess” ideas “including but not limited to: that individuals of any race, ethnicity, color, or national origin are inherently superior or inferior and that individuals, by virtue of their race, ethnicity, color, or national origin, bear collective guilt and are inherently responsible for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race, ethnicity, color, or national origin.”
Parents could file civil suits against schools that violate these provisions, and findings of repeat violations would result in withholding state funds.
The Missouri House gave its initial approval to the bill on April 12, the Missouri Independent reported. Should it pass a final House vote, it will then move to the Republican-controlled state Senate for consideration.
“The bill is a bit of a mash-up of reforms relating to school transparency and instruction — eight amendments were added to the bill after the title was expanded, each from a different House member — but the final legislative product is one that parents and reformers can get behind,” said Patrick Ishmael, director of government accountability at the Show-Me Institute, a Missouri conservative think tank.
HB 1858 is part of a wave of similar laws being proposed by Republicans across the country in response to a deluge of examples of left-wing teachers using their taxpayer-funded positions of authority to expose captive underage audiences to various far-left doctrines, from critical race theory to gender fluidity.