OC’s Davies Proposes ‘Parents Bill Of Rights’ In Assembly

California legislators will soon be taking up two bills related to school vaccinations and other education matters.

One bill, introduced by an Orange County Republican, would create a “California Parents Bill of Rights” that supporters say will give parents more control over their children’s education. Another, introduced by a San Diego Democrat, would allow school administrators easier access to student COVID-19 vaccination records.

Assemblymember Laurie Davies, R-Laguna Niguel, held a news conference Monday to talk about her “Parents Bill of Rights,” which refers to parents having “the right to make health care decisions” and a greater voice on where their children go to school and what they’re taught.

“It is the right of every parent to make decisions they deem best to protect the health and welfare of their children, not Sacramento politicians,” said Davies, pledging to continue to oppose vaccine and face mask mandates.

Davies likely is in for a fight given that Democrats have a supermajority in Sacramento and it’s tough for Republicans to get bills passed unless they gain bipartisan support.

Davies’ bill, AB 1785, reiterates existing laws and rights that parents already have but also stipulates what schools would need to do to keep parents involved and informed about those rights. The proposed legislation, for example, would require a school or district to post information on its website regarding various topics, such as immunization requirements, how to inspect instructional materials and curriculum and how to opt out of sex education. The bill also proposes that schools would need to provide an annual newsletter “about the nature and purpose of clubs and activities offered” on campus.

Mari Barke, president of the Orange County Board of Education, was on hand Monday to praise Davies’ bill and talk about parental choices.  Barke noted that the county board is tasked with considering appeals from students who want to transfer from one district to another but are denied that move from their home districts. The board, run by a conservative majority that favors charter schools, also considers charter school petition appeals after they are denied by their home school districts.

“We do try to honor school choice and parental choice through our overturning of charter school appeals and inter-district transfers,” Barke said. “We don’t feel any child should be constrained by their ZIP code, and we know that parents always make the best decisions for their children, not the districts.”

The Orange County Board of Education has a lawsuit pending against Gov. Gavin Newsom on what board members say is his overreach and abuse of emergency executive powers that have led to pandemic-related mandates.

On Friday, Feb. 4, the same day that Davies introduced AB 1785, Assemblymember Akilah Weber, D-San Diego, introduced AB 1797, which would make it easier for school officials to access and verify students’ COVID-19 vaccine status.

The bill would update the existing California Immunization Registry, which is described as a secure, confidential database managed by the California Department of Public Health. (Currently, school district officials do not have access to verify students’ COVID-19 status.) The bill would also require doctors to report COVID data to the registry and collect race and ethnicity data as well.

Click here to read the full article at OC Register