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Bill to create parents' bill of rights passes

Published March 13, 2014 8:34 pm

Education • Sponsor said he wants schools to recognize parents as ultimate decision makers.
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Parents would have what amounts to a bill of rights in education under a bill passed Thursday.

It declares that parents are the people primarily in charge of their children's education, and schools "shall reasonably accommodate" their requests for special or advanced education, absences, advancing early, remaining in a grade or skipping year-end assessment tests, among other rights newly defined.

The House voted 68-1 for SB122, which includes those rights, and the Senate concurred with amendments on a 22-4 vote. It now goes to Gov. Gary Herbert for his signature.

Sen. Aaron Osmond, R-South Jordan, sponsor of the bill, earlier said he wants schools to recognize that "the parent really is the lead" and that will customize education to get the best outcomes for students.

Among the rights in the bill are:

• A parent is the person primarily responsible for the education of the student and the state is in a secondary and supportive role. As such, the parent has the right to reasonable academic accommodations.

• Schools shall reasonably accommodate a parent's request to "retain a student on grade level based on the student's academic ability or the student's social, emotional, or physical maturity."

• Schools shall reasonably accommodate a parent's request to visit and observe a child's class.

• Schools shall reasonably accommodate a written request from a parent to excuse the student from attendance for a family event or to visit a doctor, without obtaining a note from the provider.

• Schools shall "reasonably accommodate a parent's written request "to place a student in a specialized class or an advanced course."

• Schools shall allow students to earn credit toward high school graduation without completing a course by testing out of it or demonstrating competency in course standards.

• Schools shall reasonably accommodate a parent's request to meet with a teacher.

• Upon written request of a parent, schools shall excuse the student from taking year-end assessment tests.

• Schools shall give parents copies of their discipline policies.