By DAVID BOYLE
There has been unparalleled testimony on HB105, the Alaskan Parents Rights in Education Act, to the House Education Committee. Supporters and opponents of the bill have inundated the House Education Committee, co-chaired by Rep. Jamie Allard and Rep. Justin Ruffridge.
Anyone listening to the oral testimony which began on March 30 would have believed that there was little to no support for this legislation. The opponents seemed to have had a monopoly on the phone lines. The first public testimony lasted for nearly 5 hours.
It was nearly impossible to get online to testify as was noted in the written testimony by various people. I waited three hours and 45 minutes on hold before I was able to give my two minutes of “freedom” testimony.
The oral testimony on March 30 was probably 90% opposed and 10% in favor of the bill. Many of these testifiers were from the local Juneau area and many were from the Education Industry.
While many were on phone hold for hours, local Juneau residents were able to walk into the committee room and within minutes asked if they wanted to testify.
To get a better picture of the support/opposition for this bill, one needs to review the written testimony. I reviewed 28 documents listed under HB105. These documents ranged from 25 to 91 pages. There were some duplicate emails that were not counted.
There were also many boilerplate or template emails which opposed the bill. These template emails merely required one to sign their names without really thinking about the bill’s contents.
At least 189 of these template emails were sent in by those who opposed HB105. These emails demonstrated that these opponents may have failed to read and understand the bill and resorted to a preformed template to voice their opposition.
This template email apparently came from a Planned Parenthood group which has allied with the teachers’ unions to control your children. They believe they know what is best for your child.
If one discounts the 189 template emails, Alaskans strongly support parents having the right to raise their children as they see fit.
These rights, as listed in HB105, include:
- The right of a parent to opt-in their child for sex education, rather than opt-out
- The right of a parent to know what is in their child’s school records. Prohibits schools keeping two sets of records, one for parents and one for the school
- The right of parents to designate the official name for their child.
- Sex education classes cannot begin until after a child is in 5th grade.
- The right of a student to sex-based privacy in restrooms and locker rooms.
These rights are affirmed by the Alaska Supreme Court in Treacy v. Municipality of Anchorage stating, “that parents have a fundamental right to control the upbringing of their children.”
The bill states that schools must have “written permission from a parent before the name or pronoun used by a public school to address or refer to the parent’s child in person, on school identification, or in school records is changed; (8) requiring that a parent be informed in writing of the right to pursue legal action against a school district if the parent’s rights have been violated.” In other words, schools cannot call your child a girl if she is in fact a boy, without your written consent. They cannot call him “Mary” if his name is “Mark,” without a parent’s written consent.
The supporters of HB105 are backed up by the Federal Education Records Privacy Act, which states, “Parents or eligible students have the right to inspect and review the student’s education records maintained by the school.”
It would seem that if a school district maintains two sets of records — one for parents and one for the school administration as the Anchorage School District does — it would be a violation of federal law.
Districts should be aware that they may be jeopardizing millions of dollars of federal funding if they violate FERPA law.
While oral testimony is powerful, you can email your testimony to: [email protected].