The NH House voted to pass HB 542 by a vote of 197-148. The bill goes to the Senate where it will get another public hearing. If it’s passed and then signed by the governor, it would recognize parents rights of conscience to oppose any textbook, program or even school. It also restricts the school district from approving or disapproving the parent’s program.
Here’s a copy of the entire bill:
NH RSA 193:1 Duty of Parent; Compulsory Attendance by Pupil.
V. No district shall compel a parent to send his child to any school or program to which he may be conscientiously opposed,
nor shall any district approve or disapprove a parent's education
program or curriculum.
The first section recognizes a parent's inalienable rights of conscience. The second section is taken directly from the current statute on the regulation of private schools, RSA 186:11.
However, it is extremely useful to place these parental rights prominently in statute. It places a flag in the ground, which recognizes parents’ constitutional rights and will prevent parents from back sliding down a slippery slope each year, arguing against the same proposed increases in state regulation.
Many districts have policies to assist parents who might oppose certain school programs or courses. Others don't. This bill would allow parents to argue from a position of authority: theirs, as specified under this proposal. It also recognizes private school parents as well as home schooling parents for their conscientious opposition to public school instruction. This proposal empowers all parents across the board, not just home schoolers. When you contact senators, you need only identify yourself as a parent.
Parents, not the government, know what is best for their children. Parents should have the right to determine what is best for their children. This bill will improve education in New Hampshire by empowering parents to do what they know is best for their children.
The Republican Party Platform promised to uphold the rights of parents. Please ask these Senate Education Committee members to support parental rights under HB 542 as amended.
Contact information for members of the Senate Education Committee is below:
1. Senator Nancy Stiles (republican)- Chair
2. Senator James Forsythe (republican) - Vice Chair
3. Senator Sharon Carson (republican)
4. Senator Molly Kelly (democrat)
5. Senator Russell Prescott (republican)
For the most up-to-date information on HB 542, click on the bill's docket.