Republicans push for parents' bill of rights

Electa Draper -- Denver Post 

A Republican bill to establish a parents' bill of rights, giving them authority over every aspect of their children's health care and education, is moving to the Senate floor.

The Senate Education Committee advanced the bill by a 5-4 vote along party lines late Thursday.

Senate Bill 77 spells out a long list of specific rights parents have in directing the upbringing of their minor children without interference from the state.

Sen. Tim Neville, R-Littleton, said parents' rights are "under increasing attack" in all public venues, and the bill is an effort to "halt the overreach."

The bill covers everything from having a child excused from school attendance for religious purposes to requiring schools to inform parents of all their rights and to set up procedures for exercising them, including the existing exemption from immunization laws.

Among its many provisions, the bill specifies parents will make all health care decisions for the children and have access to all medical records.

Several parents spoke in opposition to school vaccination requirements and programs.

"Parents do not realize how powerless they are," said Debbie Carroll of Littleton.

The bill also requires school boards to adopt policies that promote the involvement of parents in schools, including improving parent-teacher cooperation in homework, attendance and discipline.

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