Colorado Democrats have rejected a bill written by Republican lawmakers which would give parents broad authority over school curriculum and medical treatment for their children. The bill would have allowed parents to opt their children out of any “learning material or activity,” the Associated press reports.
Republican sponsors of the bill have said that such a measure is necessary to allow parents to have a check on the government.
The bill passed in the Senate last month. The House, however, is controlled by Democrats who have stated that the bill goes too far. If passed, it would hinder schools from providing non-emergency medical care to students without parents’ permission, and, according to Democrats, would create an environment for hiding child abuse. Although the bill was amended to bypass the permission for kids who are reporting abuse, Democrats stood their ground, saying the bill lacked clarity.
The Republican bill would also have prohibited minors from acquiring birth control without having their parents’ permission.
“This bill can have dangerous unintended consequences,” said Karen Moldovan of the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault.
Another change was the removal of the requirement for schools to explain to parents their right to exempt their children from recommended vaccinations. Rep. Jonathan Singer (D-Longmont), once a social worker, told parents waiting to hear the results of the vote that the Legislature may discuss some of their specific concerns, like a possible bill to stop schools from striking back at students who exercise their right to bypass statewide assessments.
“We need to approach this with a more surgical approach,” said Rep. Singer.
In the House Public Health Care and Human Services Committee, the bill failed along party lines with all Republicans voting for passing the measure and all Democrats voting against it. Although there was never a doubt that the bill would fail to pass, Democrats still spent many hours listening to parents who felt their parental rights to raise their children as they wished are being taken away by the government and school officials.
“All this bill does is protect the rights of those parents,” said Rep. Lois Landgraf, R-Fountain, who sponsored the abuse amendment.
The Associated Press’ Kristen Wyatt reports that parents pointed out problems that ranged from encouraging them to vaccinate their children to sometimes taking too long to respond to emails sent from parents to teachers or administration, along with many other government complaints which all came down to the fact that, in their opinion, the government has too much control concerning their oversight of their own kids. The parents present at the legislative vote felt the government’s continuing control is hidden under the pretense of “protecting children.”
The bill’s title was The Creation of a Parents’ Bill of Rights and included the right a parent has to: direct the education of the minor child; access and review all school records relating to the child; direct the child’s upbringing; direct the moral or religious training of the child; make health decisions for the child; access and review all medical records of the child; consent in writing before a biometric scan of the child occurs or is shared or stored; consent before a record of DNA is made, shared, or stored; and consent before a video or voice recording is made.