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The Tennessee Conservative [By Jason Vaughn] –
A Tennessee senator has filed a bill that would limit parents’ rights to withdraw their children from state public schools.
The bill’s summary states that, as introduced, the bill “prohibits a parent or guardian of a student who has accumulated five or more days of unexcused absences during the school year from withdrawing the student from school during the school year except for certain circumstances.” – Amends TCA Title 37; Title 39; and Title 49, Chapter 6.
Currently, state law allows parents or guardians to withdraw a student from public school for any reason, without permission.
The law would be amended to stipulate that a student can only be withdrawn if
1- The student’s place of residence changes;
2 – The student is seeking to withdraw to transfer to another school in the LEA or another LEA pursuant to a local board of education’s open enrollment policy or out-of-district transfer policy; or
3 – The student enrolls in a nonpublic school.
Critics of the bill say this is “an assault on parent’s rights” because parents should be free to make all educational choices for their children and should not be forced to enroll in an umbrella school if they opt out of public schooling.
Others worry that if this bill passes, it will only be a matter of time before it is amended again to include even more stipulations that would provide parents with even fewer options outside of public schools.
If passed, the new law would go into effect with the upcoming school year.
This legislation stands in sharp contrast to Gardenhire’s bill that seeks to expand Tennessee’ Education Savings Account Program (school vouchers) to Hamilton County and potentially other counties with large school districts.
About the Author: Jason Vaughn, Media Coordinator for The Tennessee Conservative ~ Jason previously worked for a legacy publishing company based in Crossville, TN in a variety of roles through his career. Most recently, he served as Deputy Director for their flagship publication. Prior, he was a freelance journalist writing articles that appeared in the Herald Citizen, the Crossville Chronicle and The Oracle among others. He graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a Bachelor’s in English-Journalism, with minors in Broadcast Journalism and History. Contact Jason at news@TennesseeConservativeNews.com