The general experience in the public school/charter school or even private school can be pleasant where no advocacy is needed. Children can thrive in school with proper guidance and professional educators. However, sometimes the experience is not so pleasing for the parent or child, causing one to feel they have no avenue of recourse. Schools should be following IEP’s, 504 Plans, State Standards of Education, and district approved curriculum but rogue teachers or administrators have become a growing problem. Sometimes a parent will call/email the teacher or principal when they experience a problem but are often brushed off, becoming frustrated.
TPAU was created to help you understand, You do have rights and will find success when following proper process. An Elected School Governing Board can be your best friend and ally in this process of finding peace for your child when the administration or teacher does nothing. Many feel they need to speak out at board meetings which is a nice thought but often times, ineffective. Boards and administration has their minds made up and by the time you are speaking in front of them (3 minutes max), policies and procedures have already been decided. To better understand parent rights, feel free to read through ARS 15-341 and ARS 15-342
TPAU supports the right of parents to guide their children’s lives and to be responsible for every aspect of their care, including all health-related decisions. The Center for AZ Policy fought hard to secure those rights in 2010.
Recognizing the need to specifically protect parents’ rights in state law, CAP worked with the Arizona Legislature in 2010 to pass the Parents’ Bill of Rights. This statute sets forth the broad rule of parents’ rights: “The liberty of parents to direct the upbringing, education, health care and mental health of their children is a fundamental right.” A.R.S. 1-601(A). The government may not interfere with parental rights unless it demonstrates a compelling interest of the highest order that is narrowly tailored to meet that interest and that is not otherwise served by a less restrictive means. A.R.S. 1-601(B). This standard allows for children to be protected from abusive situations, while still ensuring that parents’ rights are not infringed by government officials who may simply believe they know better than a parent.
The Parents’ Bill of Rights recognizes a parent’s right to:
Arizona law protects the constitutional rights held by parents in directing the education of their children. This includes the right to select the type of education that the parent deems is best for the child, including district school, charter school, private school, homeschool, online or the empowerment scholarship account program. A.R.S. 15-802.
In district schools (A.R.S. 15-102), parents have the right to:
For additional rights in district schools see ARS 15-102(A)(7).
In charter schools (ARS 15-113), parents have more limited rights than in district schools, but they do have the right to:
Parents have important rights regarding the medical care of their children, although Arizona law does contain several provisions that undermine parents’ rights in this area.
In addition to the medical care provisions of the Parents’ Bill of Rights listed above, Arizona’s parents have specific rights found elsewhere in state law, including:
Unfortunately, parents’ rights are undermined by two state laws that allow minors to consent to medical treatment without parental consent. State law allows a minor to seek treatment for a sexually-transmitted disease (ARS 44-132.01) or for substance abuse (ARS 44-133.01) without parental consent or involvement. No Arizona law requires parental consent for prescription medications for minors, including contraceptives.
Parents have the solemn right and responsibility to raise their children according to their own sincerely held convictions. Government must always recognize this right and make every effort to support parents in the choices they make while raising children. In Arizona, citizens should be aware of the extensive parental rights in state law and their ability to freely exercise them.
These are triggers for Admin to show you know your parental rights. These make them perk up and listen.
Keys to success in the school system/navigating admin:
By Joining TPAU as an Associate Member, you will have access to information about Parent’s Rights, as they evolve. You will also have a Professional Parent Advocate to consult as needed, or even attend meetings with you in case there are problems.