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(The Center Square) – Ohio school districts would not be able to discourage or prohibit parental involvement in decisions about their child’s mental health if the General Assembly passes a recently-introduced Parents Bill of Rights Act.

House Bill 722 would require schools to draft a policy that promotes parental involvement in their child’s education in honor of that policy.

“The focus is to ensure that parents are empowered to be involved in their child’s education both inside and outside the classroom," said Rep. D.J. Swearingen, R-Huron. "In Ohio, we value parents taking an active role in their child’s life. When parents are involved, their children succeed. When children succeed, the future of Ohio becomes brighter.” 

Beyond the policy, the district would be required to notify a parent of a change in their student’s services or monitoring related to the student’s mental, emotional or physical health or well-being. 

Also, it would prohibit school district personnel from discouraging or prohibiting parental involvement in critical decisions affecting a student’s mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being.

“Many parents across Ohio believe that schools should provide notification and transparency on certain materials prior to instruction and surely should keep parents duly notified when it comes to a student's health records at their school,” said Rep. Sara Carruthers, R-Hamilton. “It’s my goal to have schools and parents work hand-in-hand for the student.”

The bill will also provide notification to parents on each health care service offered at their school and to work with parents on creating a health care plan for each student.

HB 722 has yet to be assigned to a committee.

The bill is the second filed this year that would move parents higher in priority for school districts.

As previously reported by The Center Square, Rep. Brett Hillyer, R-Uhrichsville, introduced House Bill 529 that would have school districts post curriculum and instruction materials online to give parents better access to what is being taught in classrooms. It would require public and private schools to post the information by July 1 each year. It also would require public colleges to post the same things for high school students enrolled in the College Credit Plus Program.

It was introduced in the House in February but has yet to have a hearing.

The General Assembly is not expected to return until after the general election in November.

Regional Editor

An Ohio native, J.D. Davidson is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher.