Public hearing held for proposed Parents’ Bill of Rights

Nebraska State Capitol
Nebraska State Capitol(MGN)
Published: Jan. 31, 2023 at 10:45 PM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - A bill introduced at the state capitol aims to give parents more control over their child’s education and it’s already sparking a major back-and-forth between those for and against the change.

On Tuesday, during a public hearing, the Education Committee heard hours of testimony from dozens of people on LB 374.

It was introduced by State Senator Dave Murman. Murman said the purpose of the bill is to make public education in the state more transparent.

“It’s about parents working together with teachers and educators to do what’s best for their own children,” Murman said.

If passed, the bill would adopt a Parents’ Bill of Rights and Academic Transparency Act. It would require public school districts to create a transparency portal on their websites where parents can view their child’s assignments, class curriculums, and exempt their kids from certain lessons if they want.

“Just make it more clear to the parents that they do have the option to opt-out their student if the parent feels that the material is objectionable,” Murman said during Q&A.

Parents would also be able to review books and materials provided by school libraries and take away their child’s access to materials they deem inappropriate. Supporters said there are books currently in school libraries that parents should be able to restrict access to.

“I was sorely disappointed to find literature with such obscene, graphic, lewd, prurient content that it met the definition of pornography in our school library,” said Amy Martinez, a proponent of the bill.

Opponents said the bill’s requirements will negatively impact learning and teachers.

“We are not opposed to transparency,” said Tim Royers with the Millard Education Association. “In fact, this bill does not promote transparency. It promotes an image that we are a danger to kids and not to be trusted.”

No action was taken on LB 374 Tuesday, and there is no timeline for when it could be voted out of committee to the full unicameral for debate.