Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News
Friday, after a rather intense debate on the floor, House Republicans passed their national parental rights bill. However, any thought of the bill becoming law was almost immediately dashed.
The Parental Bill of Rights Act passed by a 213-to-208 vote, with all Democrats and five Republicans opposing. It is unlikely the bill proceeds any further in the legislative process as the Democrat-controlled Senate is expected to never raise the issue for a vote.
“Today is a great day for parents across the country as the House passed H.R. 5, my Parents Bill of Rights Act,” Rep. Julia Letlow (R-La.), who introduced the bill, tweeted. “Now, the @HouseGOP has firmly said that parents will always have a seat at the table when it comes to their child’s education.”
Today is a great day for parents across the country as the House passed H.R. 5, my Parents Bill of Rights Act. Now, the @HouseGOP has firmly said that parents will always have a seat at the table when it comes to their child’s education.https://t.co/Ha8tXlVmN5
— Congresswoman Julia Letlow (@RepJuliaLetlow) March 24, 2023
Democrats quickly made their stance known as well, calling the Parental Bill of Rights everything from misguided to fascist.
“The administration does not support H.R. 5 in its current form because the bill does not actually help parents support their children at school,” the White House said in a statement. “Moreover, instead of making LGBTQI+ students feel included in their school community, it puts them at higher risk. The administration strongly supports actions that empower parents to engage with their children’s teachers and schools, like enabling parents to take time off to attend school meetings. Legislation should not politicize our children’s education.”
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy expressed disappointment that no Democrats had seen fit to join conservatives.
“The Democrats in Washington are too extreme to believe parents should have a say in their kids’ education,” McCarthy said. “Every single one of them voted against the Parents Bill of Rights.”
The Democrats in Washington are too extreme to believe parents should have a say in their kids' education. Every single one of them voted against the Parents Bill of Rights. pic.twitter.com/a2vk7rnRRb
— Kevin McCarthy (@SpeakerMcCarthy) March 25, 2023
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who made allusions to fascism in a floor speech, called the bill an attempt by Republicans to overstep their authority.
“Republicans say they oppose government overreach,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “But, they’re the ones passing bills that ban books in our libraries. Even the ‘Life of Rosa Parks’ is too woke for Republicans.”
Republicans say they oppose government overreach. But, they're the ones passing bills that ban books in our libraries. Even the 'Life of Rosa Parks' is too woke for Republicans. pic.twitter.com/Lrrkonn4Dd
— Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@RepAOC) March 23, 2023
The bill would require districts to publicly disclose the curriculum taught in local public schools, including materials used in the classroom as well as available through school libraries.
Importantly, no portion of the bill would ban any book, although it would make it easier for parents or members of a community to learn of and potentially protest certain materials.
Schools would also be required to make parents aware of instances of violence on campus and to disclose each school and school district’s expenses and budget.
Similar to the book and curriculum rules, these disclosure policies would not require schools to change expenditure decisions or to respond in any particular way to acts of violence, but they would make it easier for members of the public to learn about these matters and, one would expect, apply pressure to government entities.
“Just to be clear, @AOC is arguing that it’s ‘fascism ‘for parents to want to know what the government is teaching their kids,” conservative commentator Matt Walsh tweeted. “Holding the government accountable, and demanding transparency, is ‘fascism.’”
Just to be clear, @AOC is arguing that it's "fascism" for parents to want to know what the government is teaching their kids. Holding the government accountable, and demanding transparency, is "fascism." https://t.co/Fw3wFSi5qA
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) March 24, 2023
The most profound sticking point of the bill, it seems, is a provision that would require schools to inform parents if a student begins expressing thoughts of gender dysphoria or begins being referred to by a different name or treated as a member of the opposite sex at the school.
Conservatives argue parents have a right to know if their children are experiencing such feelings and that school employees enjoy fewer rights than parents when it comes to matters of a child’s sexual identity.
Many Democrats say this measure constitutes “outing” LGBQ students to parents who will not necessarily be supportive. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) made such a claim during a speech on the House floor.
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) tweeted simply, “Extreme MAGA Republicans just passed legislation to ban books and bully children. Shameful.”
Extreme MAGA Republicans just passed legislation to ban books and bully children.
— Hakeem Jeffries (@RepJeffries) March 24, 2023
Republicans have countered that the shame is that Democrats are working so hard to remove parents from the educational process in exchange for a government-exclusive approach.
“What we’re trying to do with this amendment is essentially call the bluff of my Democratic colleagues,” Roy said. “Put your money where your mouth is; if you don’t like the fact that the federal government is involved in education, welcome to the party.”
Roy is among the conservatives pushing for an end to the Department of Education.
Numerous conservatives were quick to remind Democrats that part of the reason this bill has gained steam was the fact that, across the nation, school boards were attempting to keep parents from voicing their concerns at meetings.
“It is clear that the Biden Administration has no tolerance for those with ideological beliefs different from their own,” Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) said. “The vilification of concerned parents by this Administration is a gross assault by the federal government.”
Johnson’s fellow Louisianan, Rep. Steve Scalise, put it a bit more starkly, saying, “You had the Justice Department trying to tag parents as domestic terrorists for showing up at a school board meeting, for God’s sake!”
It is clear that the Biden Administration has no tolerance for those with ideological beliefs different from their own.
The vilification of concerned parents by this Administration is a gross assault by the federal government. pic.twitter.com/VbSYAN9ZP1
— Rep. Mike Johnson (@RepMikeJohnson) March 23, 2023
.@SteveScalise: "You had the Justice Department trying to tag parents as domestic terrorists for showing up at a school board meeting, for God's sake!" pic.twitter.com/6O2VsyvG07
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) March 24, 2023
Republicans continue to probe for answers from the Department of Justice and Attorney General Merrick Garland on allegations Garland labeled as terrorists parents expressing displeasure at school board meetings. Garland has denied this allegation.