HB1431: No More Secrets

HB1431, the Parents’ Bill of Rights, is essential legislation that would enshrine in law the “fundamental right of parents to direct the upbringing, education, and care of their minor children.” The bill also details that important information relating to children should not be withheld from parents, and that notification of important events in the lives of children at school is mandatory. Schools should no longer be able to keep secrets from parents!

This bill still needs to be approved by the NH House and Senate, and Governor Sununu has vowed to veto the bill. Please co-sign the letter below to instruct your elected officials to support this bill.

Co-Sign the Parents’ Letter

to NH House, Senate, and Governor

To New Hampshire State Representatives, New Hampshire State Senators, Governor Chris Sununu:

On behalf of children, parents, and grandparents across New Hampshire, we the undersigned write today to respectfully urge you to vote in favor of the final version of H.B. 1431, the Parents’ Bill of Rights, and send it to Governor Sununu. We the undersigned further urge Governor Sununu to support this critical bill.

The first section of H.B. 1431 will enshrine into New Hampshire state code that parental rights are a fundamental right, as the U.S. Supreme Court has held since 1923.[1] See, e.g., Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390 (1923), Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510 (1925), Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205 (1972), and Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57 (2000). New Hampshire’s Supreme Court has also found parental rights to be protected under New Hampshire’s state constitution.[2] See, e.g., In re Guardianship of Nicholas P., 27 A.3d 653, 657 (N.H. 2011) (“[p]arental rights are ‘natural, essential, and inherent’ within the meaning of Part I, Article 2 of the New … Continue reading H.B. 1431 will further protect parental rights in state code, allowing New Hampshire to join 15 other states that have protected parental rights as fundamental in state law.[3] West Virginia (W. Va. Code § 44-10-7, as extended by In re Willis, 157 W.Va. 225, 207 S.E.2d 129 (WV 1973); see also W. Va. Code § 49-1-1(a) and W. Va. Code § 49-6D-2(a)); Kansas (Kan. Stat. … Continue reading

It is important to note that in these 15 states, public schools still operate without problems. State child protective agencies are able to remove children from abusive homes. The scare tactics used by those who oppose protecting children by empowering parents have not come to pass in these fifteen states, as they will not come to pass in New Hampshire if H.B. 1431 becomes law.

The remainder of H.B. 1431 deals with providing parents of children in New Hampshire public schools with information about their child’s well-being, education, and what their child is being taught. As any effective teacher knows, ensuring that parents are informed and effective partners in their child’s education is critical to ensuring that children thrive in their school. There is nothing in H.B. 1431 about banning books, specifying curriculum, or limiting the ability of teachers and public schools to provide instruction. H.B. 1431 simply ensures that parents are not cut out from being informed and effective partners with their local public school.

It appears that opponents of H.B. 1431 mainly object to the language in the bill requiring parents to be notified promptly if their own child needs action by the school related to “gender expression or identity.” The entire provision in H.B. 1431 is as follows:

“[Parents have] [t]he right to be notified promptly when any school board, school district, school administrative unit, school administrator, or other school employee initiates, investigates, or finds the need for any action by school authorities relating to the student pursuant to school policies governing student conduct, truancy, dress code violations, sexual harassment, bullying, hazing, behavior management and intervention, substance use, suicide prevention, gender expression or identity, disability accommodation, and special meal prescription.”

Nothing in this section prohibits the school from providing services to a student. And nothing in this section ties the hands of public schools from protecting vulnerable children. Indeed, H.B. 1431 specifically states that nothing in the bill would “[a]uthorize a parent of a minor child in this state to engage in conduct that is unlawful or to abuse or neglect his or her minor child in violation of general law, as defined in RSA 169-C[]” or would “[r]estrict the authority of the department of health and human services, division for children, youth and families.” H.B. 1431 simply ensures that parents know what is going on in the classroom as it regards their own minor child whom they love, raise, care for, house, and nurture.

Opponents of H.B. 1431 have shown their hand: they want public schools to be able to engage in gender transition counseling and services with minor children behind their parents’ backs, with parents uninformed and ignorant of what is going on with their own precious children in the public schools to which they have entrusted them.[4] Indeed, the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia recently issued a preliminary injunction against the District’s Minor Consent Act, a law which the court found “encourages … Continue reading 

This is unconscionable. Parents, not government employees, should be making these decisions. Parents love their children, raise their children, spend sleepless nights with their children, and must not then be cut out from some of the most important decisions concerning their children’s very identity and future.

We respectfully urge you to support H.B. 1431.

Sincerely,

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References

References
1  See, e.g., Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390 (1923), Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510 (1925), Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205 (1972), and Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57 (2000).
2  See, e.g., In re Guardianship of Nicholas P., 27 A.3d 653, 657 (N.H. 2011) (“[p]arental rights are ‘natural, essential, and inherent’ within the meaning of Part I, Article 2 of the New Hampshire Constitution.”). See also, e.g., In re Adam R., 992 A.2d 697, 700 (N.H. 2010); In re Antonio W., 790 A.2d 125, 128 (N.H. 2002).
3  West Virginia (W. Va. Code § 44-10-7, as extended by In re Willis, 157 W.Va. 225, 207 S.E.2d 129 (WV 1973); see also W. Va. Code § 49-1-1(a) and W. Va. Code § 49-6D-2(a)); Kansas (Kan. Stat. Ann. § 38-141(2)(b); see also Kan. Stat. Ann. § 60-5305(a)(1)); Michigan (Mich. Comp. Laws § 380.10); Texas (Texas Family Code § 151.003); Utah (Utah Code Ann. § 62A-4a-201; see also Utah Code Ann. § 30-5a-103); Colorado (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-22-107(1)(a)(III)); Arizona (Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 1-601); Nevada (Nevada Rev. Stat. Ann. § 126.036); Virginia (Va. Code Ann. § 1-240.1); Oklahoma (Okla. Stat. tit. 25, § 2001—2005); Idaho (Idaho Code § 32-1012 – 1013); Wyoming (Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 14-2-206); Florida (Fla. Stat. § 1014.03); Montana (Mont. Code Ann. § 40-6-701); Georgia (Ga. Code Ann. § 20-2-786 (as enacted by H.B. 1178, effective July 1, 2022)).
4  Indeed, the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia recently issued a preliminary injunction against the District’s Minor Consent Act, a law which the court found “encourages children to deceive their parents.” Booth v. Bowser, 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 48877 *36 (D.D.C. Mar. 18, 2022). And the Federal District Court for the District of Kansas recently issued a preliminary injunction in a case dealing with a teacher facing discipline over a school district pronoun policy, stating “[i]t is difficult to envision why a school would even claim—much less how a school could establish—a generalized interest in withholding or concealing from the parents of minor children, information fundamental to a child’s identity, personhood, and mental and emotional well-being such as their preferred name and pronouns.” Ricard v. USD 475 Geary Cty., 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83742 * 20 (D. Kan. May 9, 2022). The Court further added in a footnote “[b]ecause it is illegitimate to conceal information from parents for the purpose of frustrating their ability to exercise a fundamental right, there are real questions whether the District’s claimed interests in the Communication with Parents Policy—broadly written as it is—would satisfy even the rational basis standard that would govern if the rule were neutral and generally applicable.” Id., n.11.

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