House GOP Introduces Parents’ Bill of Rights, Speaker McCarthy Promises Action on ‘Historic Milestone’
House GOP Introduces Parents’ Bill of Rights, Speaker McCarthy Promises Action on ‘Historic Milestone’

By Mark Tapscott

A parents’ bill of rights legislative proposal co-sponsored by 76 House Republicans has been described by Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) as a historic “milestone” that he promises will get prompt action in the House of Representatives.

“We’re making history here today,” McCarthy told an enthusiastic group of parents and their children on March 1 during a reception in the U.S. Capitol’s Rayburn Room.

He said Republicans made a commitment to introduce a parents’ bill of rights and “that is what today is all about.”

Joining McCarthy to discuss the proposal and respond to parents’ questions were Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), House Education and Workforce Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), Rep. Julia Letlow (R-La.), Rep. Aaron Bean (R-FL), and Rep. Erin Houchin (R-Ind.).

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) gives remarks at a news conference in Statuary Hall of the Capitol Building in Washington on Feb. 2, 2023. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

“It’s about every parent, every mom and dad, and most importantly, it’s about the students in America today,” McCarthy said.

“You know, it’s a pretty straightforward bill. We firmly believe that this bill’s foundation is built on five pillars.”

He then explained that the majority party in the House is able to reserve certain numbers to be assigned to a legislative proposal to indicate importance.

“This bill is H.R. 5, which is very important because five is about when you start going to kindergarten when you start your education,” McCarthy continued.

“This bill is based on five pillars, including the right to know what is being taught in your school and the right for you to see the reading materials.

Parents’ Right to Know

“Many times we have found across this nation that parents were attacked, called ‘terrorists,’ simply because they wanted to go to a school board meeting to be heard about what’s going on.”

McCarthy said the second pillar of the bill “is the right to see school budgets and how they spend their money,” and he called the third pillar “the right for you to protect your child’s privacy.”

Parents should also have the right “to know about any violent activity in the school,” and, fifth, “the right to keep your child safe.”

McCarthy added that “these are pretty basic things that we think every parent should have a right to … it doesn’t matter the color of your skin, your wealth. When you have a child, that is the most important thing in your life.

“You will give your life for that child. And one thing we know in this country is that education is the great equalizer and we want the parents to be empowered.”

Rep. Virginia Foxx talks at American Enterprise Institute in Washington, about student loan forgiveness. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)

The proposal’s primary sponsor is Letlow, a former school administrator who introduced a similar measure during the 117th Congress.

Letlow said, “[The] Pandemic for the first time brought to light for a lot of us moms and dads whenever we sat down with our children and saw what they were being taught through the virtual classroom.”

She said many parents were disheartened by what they saw and as a result, they went to their school boards to ask questions and voice their displeasure with what is being taught in schools.

“But we were turned away and some of us were even labeled ‘domestic terrorists.’ That was absolutely not right and that was the impetus for this bill. And thanks to all of you parents in this room for stepping up and saying ‘no, enough is enough and we are going to fight to make sure our voices are heard.’”

The text of the proposal is expected to be made public on March 2.

Sued For Asking Questions

Among the parents in the audience was Nicole Solace from Rhode Island who described how she was sued by the National Education Association (NEA), the largest education union in the nation after she asked local public school officials what her kindergartner would be learning.

Before she was sued, however, Solace said she was told by school officials that she had to file public information requests to obtain the information she was seeking.

After Solace filed the requests, the school board called a meeting that lasted for multiple hours to discuss publicly whether it should sue her for filing the requests.

“In a five-hour-long school board meeting, they openly debated my moral character, my political motivations, they said I was causing chaos, wreaking havoc, harming the district, harming the children.

“One school board member even said she felt unsafe and started to cry because, as you can see, I am really scary,” Solace, who is of petite stature, told the representatives.

“They really just tarred and feathered me just for asking questions, and this was the first school board meeting I had ever been to in my life,” she added.

‘Sending a Message’

“They wanted to send a message to other parents that if you ask questions, they will come after you.”

Also present was Scott Smith, whose daughter is a Loudoun (Virginia) Public Schools student and who was one of three young female students sexually assaulted in the girls’ bathroom by a male student wearing a dress.

“Eighteen months ago, I was arrested at a Loudoun County school board meeting. I was restrained, tackled, charged with disorderly conduct, and slandered in the media across the world.

“But my real crime was voicing my concerns as a parent standing up for my children and my community,” Smith said.

“As any parent can understand, this was a devastating and painful time for our family and should never have happened, and could have been prevented. I went to the school board meeting to speak up for my daughter and to get some answers.

“But instead of putting our daughter’s safety and the safety of other students first, the Loudoun County School Board tried to hide the facts and protect their administrators at all costs.

“The school board has failed these students and their families every step of the way and they continue to do so today.”

Smith received sustained applause from the representatives and the audience when he concluded his remarks.


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