Representative Weaver and Senator Bowling have introduced the “Parent Bill of Rights Act” in the Tennessee General Assembly to codify the rights of Tennessee parents in an effort to better protect children from various forms of harm inflicted by Local Education Agencies.
Representative Terri Lynn Weaver (R-Lancaster-District 40) and Senator Janice Bowling (R-Tullahoma-District 16) filed their companion bills on February 1st, 2022.
House Bill 2451 (HB2451) and Senate Bill 2360 (SB2360) in summary, will require Local Education Agencies (LEAs) to permit parents to have access to certain information, including the names of instructors, titles available in the school library, teacher manuals, and curriculum.
The legislation will also require that LEAs acquire written consent before a student can participate in any extracurricular activity, family life lesson, field trip, school assembly, or guest speaker event.
The bill will prohibit certain healthcare practitioners from providing medical treatment to a minor without parental consent or an appropriate court order.
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In addition, the bill will require LEAs to:
• Allow parents or legal guardians to review the names of any organization or individual receiving funding from or contracting with the LEA in the school year.
• Allow parents to visit their student during regular school hours including allowing observation of the student’s classroom.
• Allow parents to review the content of curriculum, teacher manuals, and textbooks for any classroom of the parent’s or legal guardian’s student without being required to sign a non-disclosure agreement.
• Allow parents to review a list of titles or materials that have been borrowed from the school library by their child.
The legislation will require LEAs to immediately notify parents if:
• There is any incident concerning student safety in the school, including any crimes committed by a teacher, substitute teacher, guest speaker, or other individual while providing instruction to the student.
• Medical treatment is provided to the student by the LEA.
If passed, the “Parent Bill of Rights Act” will amend Tennessee Code TCA Section 14-4-103; Title 49 and Title 63.
Also, if passed, the Act will take effect before Fall Semester 2022 (effective date of July 1, 2022) and will apply to private rights of action accruing on or after July 1st, 2021.
Weaver and Bowling’s bill lines up almost perfectly with a Parent’s Bill of Rights that was drafted by Tennessee mom, Kristin Benton, in November of 2021.
Benton shared her draft legislation with multitudes of Tennessee parents, asking them to share it with their legislators before the start of the General Session in January 2022.
It would appear that the efforts paid off.
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 Directory 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