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Education Reporter

Parents' Rights on the Move . . .

Colorado School Board adopts Resolution
DENVER, CO - On April 13, the Colorado School Board adopted a resolution urging the state's public schools to comply with the federal law allowing parents to protect their children from objectionable curricula, activities and tests. The text of the resolution is as follows:

Whereas, a successful system of public education depends on the mutual cooperation and trust between educators, parents, and their children; and

Whereas, 20 U.S.C. Sec. 340(S) states: "Parents have the primary responsibility for the education of their children, and states, localities, and private institutions have the primary responsibility for supporting the parental role"; and

Whereas, 20 U.S.C. 1232g and the implementing regulations allow parents to inspect and review their child's education records, and require written parental consent before an educational agency or institution discloses personally identifiable information unless specifically required by other law or regulation; and

Whereas, 20 U.S.C. 1232h requires written parental consent before minor students participate in any federally-funded survey, analysis, or evaluation that reveals information concerning political affiliations, religious beliefs, income, mental or psychological condition, sexual behavior and attitudes; and

Whereas, failure to comply with the aforementioned federal laws and regulations in all applicable circumstances, even if federal funds are not involved, violates that trust between parents and educators and undermines support for public education,

Be It Resolved that the Colorado State Board of Education encourages all local public schools and school districts to comply with the aforementioned requirements of 20 U.S.C. 1232(g) and (h), even when not required by the use of federal funds.

New Jersey General Assembly drafts bill

TRENTON, NJ - Assemblyman Scott Garrett (R-Dist. 24) introduced parental rights legislation (see text below) on May 8 at the request of New Jersey pro-family leader Carolee Adams, who helped draft the language. The bill provides that, prior to administering certain academic or non-academic surveys, assessments, analyses, evaluations, or comprehensive guidance and counseling values clarification programs to students, schools must obtain "informed" written parental consent. It requires schools to provide copies of the documents for viewing at convenient times and locations, and spells out the conditions under which these requirements would apply.

The New Jersey bill is modeled on the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment, but goes further because it adds the word "informed" to "consent," and includes penalties for violators. "Since many bills are passed without penalties assessed for misapplication, school administrators are not as attentive as they should be to the law," Carolee Adams explains. "The word 'penalties' should grab the schools' attention and raise a red flag. Violators of A.2351 will be penalized monetarily."

Mrs. Adams, Assemblyman Garrett, and other pro-family legislators and citizens will be working to advance this important legislation.

ASSEMBLY, No. 2351
Sponsored by: Assemblyman E. Scott Garrett, District 24 (Sussex, Hunterdon and Morris)
SYNOPSIS: Requires that school districts receive written informed parental consent prior to administering certain surveys to their students. 
Concerning certain surveys conducted by school districts and supplementing chapter 36 of Title 18A of New Jersey Statutes.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. a. Unless a school district receives prior written informed consent from a student's parent or legal guardian and provides for a copy of the document to be available for viewing at convenient locations and time periods, the school district shall not administer to a student any academic or nonacademic survey, assessment, analysis, evaluation or comprehensive guidance and counseling values clarification program which reveals information concerning:  
(1) political affiliations;
(2) mental and psychological problems potentially embarrassing to the student or the student's family;
(3) sexual behavior and attitudes;
(4) illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating and demeaning behavior;
(5) critical appraisals of other individuals with whom a respondent has a close family relationship;
(6) legally recognized privileged or analogous relationships, such as those of lawyers, physicians, and ministers;
(7) income, other than that required by law to determine eligibility for participation in a program or for receiving financial assistance under a program; or
(8) social security number.
b. The school district shall request prior written informed consent at least two weeks prior to the administration of the survey, assessment, analysis, evaluation or comprehensive guidance and counseling values clarification program.
c. A student shall not participate in any survey, assessment, analysis, evaluation or comprehensive guidance and counseling values clarification program that concerns the issues listed in subsection a. of this section unless the school district has obtained prior written informed consent from that student's parent or guardian.
d. A school district that violates the provisions of this act shall be subject to such monetary penalties as determined by the commissioner.
2. This act shall take effect immediately.

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