U.S. Supreme Court has held that parental rights are a fundamental right, let’s put it in black and white in state code

For the past 100 years, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that parental rights are a fundamental right, writes Parental Rights Foundation president William Estrada for the American Enterprise Institute.

But this federal precedent hasn’t been applied consistently in the context of public education, continues Estrada. “Americans are hearing far too many stories of public schools hiding essential information from parents and making fundamental decisions about children without their parents’ knowledge or consent.”

That is why state policymakers should, and can, “pass legislation enshrining the fundamental rights of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children.”

There are currently 15 states that have already codified parental rights as a fundamental right — Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Idaho, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Putting the current U.S. Supreme Court precedent into the black and white of state code would help governors, state attorneys general, and state departments of education protect parental rights in a straightforward matter of simply enforcing state code, notes Estrada. “This also allows school boards to cite state code to protect parental rights when teachers or school leaders violate them.”

Recent examples of Virginia and Florida using their state parental rights statutes show how such laws advance parental rights. There is no reason Minnesota shouldn’t consider following suit to ensure that parents, not government officials, make decisions for their children. A Parent’s Bill of Rights was introduced in the House this session (H.F. 1590), which would protect the “fundamental right of a parent to direct the upbringing, education, and physical and mental health care of the parent’s minor child,” but is awaiting committee hearing.