Summary of “Parent’s Bill of Rights” Legislation SB15-077
The bill creates a “Parent’s Bill of Rights” that sets forth specific rights of parents in regard to the education and physical and mental health care of their children. Specifically, the bill prohibits the state or any other government entity in Colorado from infringing upon the fundamental rights of a parent to direct the upbringing, education, and physical and mental health care of his or her child without first demonstrating that there is a compelling governmental interest and no less restrictive manner of doing so.
Among other things, the bill specifies that parents have a right to:
- direct the education of their child;
- access and review all school records relating to their child;
- direct the moral and religious training of their child;
- make health care decisions for their child;
- access and review all medical records of their child;
- consent in writing before a biometric scan of their child occurs or is shared or stored;
- consent in writing before any record of their child’s blood or DNA is made, shared, or stored, unless otherwise required in law or by the courts;
- consent in writing before any state or local government entity makes a video or voice recording of their child, except under certain specified exceptions; and
- be notified by a state or local government entity that a criminal offense has been committed against their child by someone other than the parent, unless it is a minor school discipline matter.
The bill also requires school districts to develop and adopt policies to promote the involvement of parents of children enrolled in the district and to inform parents about procedures by which a parent can:
- learn about the course of study for their child, including learning materials and their sources;
- withdraw their child from class activities involving objectionable learning materials and activities;
- receive information about opting a child out of human sexuality education at least 15 days before the start of instruction;
- learn about the nature and purpose of clubs and activities that are part of the school curriculum or are an approved extracurricular activity;
- learn about parent rights and responsibilities under state law to:
- Review text books;
- Opt out of sexual education;
- Opt out of assignments;
- Opt out of data collection instruments at the district level;
- Have a child excused for religious purposes;
- Claim an exemption to immunization laws; (laws already in effect)
- Obtain information about open enrollment rights; and
- Have a child participate in gifted and talented programs, among other things.
School districts may adopt policies to provide required information to parents electronically and must provide a response within 2 business days of receiving an information request from a parent. In addition, the bill restricts the ability of state employees and health care providers to provide physical or mental health care services without first obtaining the permission of the parent, except under limited emergency situations.