Parents Bill of Rights infringes on students’ education

On March 3, the Minnesota senate held its first votes for the Parents Bill of Rights. The Parents Bill of Rights Act is a Republican-backed piece of legislation regarding parents’ right to know what their students are being taught in school, and the right to censor their child’s education. This bill would give parents the power to review curricula, books and other educational materials therefore requiring teachers to publish their entire lesson schedule at once. The passing of this bill could cause harm to students and create a generation of uneducated young adults, as well as cause America’s teachers an insurmountable amount of stress.

In some aspects, the Parents Bill of Rights is an attempt to hide the checkered past of the United States. Some conservative parents, specifically in the southern states, believe that the nation’s children should not be taught about racism, sexual education or LGBTQ+ topics in an eductional setting. 

“The fact that Republican senators are the main one that are pushing this act through shows what party this is favoring,” senior Justin Lopez explained. Laws like this one are written in such a way that they “have a conservative mindset in mind. They’re favoring conservative parents, trying to push a conservative agenda.”

The Parents Bill of Rights was first introduced in Congress by the U.S. Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri. The latest installment of the bill has been implemented in Kansas, as of March 23. 

School is a place to broaden perspectives rather than limit points of view to what parents deem appropriate.

— Kylie Galowitz

If the bill were to pass in Minnesota, parents would be trying to censor what their kids would learn in school senior Kylie Galowitz said. “School is a place to broaden perspectives rather than limit points of view to what parents deem appropriate.”

Not only could the passing of this bill limit school curricula, but it could also put stress on teachers. This bill would require educators to publish their entire curriculum for the year before the school calendar begins allowing for parents to review and censor the material. It could also limit what teachers can teach students in the classroom.

“Sadly, if it goes this far, it’s going to start stifling history teachers and english teachers. It is going to make teachers be more timid to really teach what they think is right,” journalism teacher Laurie Hansen said.  “Why would I want to teach if I don’t have autonomy to do my job correctly? Most teachers are going to teach because they want to make a difference.

Parents who are supporters of this bill claim it is their “fundamental right” to go through with the protocols this bill would implement. Another problem with the Parents Bill of Rights is that it fails to recognize that children also have fundamental rights. The government has a role in protecting the health, education, safety and well-being of children as well.

“It’s a non-issue. They are trying to fix something that doesn’t need to be fixed. If you’re that against teaching about slavery or teaching about LGBTQ rights, send your kid to a private school,” Hansen explained. “To avoid these issues isn’t making you into a good citizen.”

Though the issue of parent censorship in classrooms is currently occurring, parents do in fact deserve to know what their child is learning about. But the privilege stops there. “Parents are thinking that if they [the child] does not know about something, their kid won’t adopt a different point of view from them. They are trying to give kids a certain point of view, rather than just give them the tools to form their own opinions,” Galowitz said.