The state House of Representatives has passed a 'bill of rights' for students and families in public schools.
Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos (D-Seattle), who sponsored the measure, says that while these rights may seem obvious at first glance, it is important for them to be specifically laid out and communicated to students and their parents or guardians as they navigate the public school system.
"It's been often said that parents are their children's first and best educators," Santos said. "But we haven't done enough to remove the barriers that prevent parents from fully participating in their child's education."
Among the rights that students and families would be afforded by school districts are:
- The right to be treated respectfully
- The right to have their questions answered and messages returned in a timely fashion
- The right to view all district policies, including those concerning bullying and sexual harassment
Santos' bill would also require school districts to communicate these rights on an annual basis in a format to best ensure that students and families understand.
An additional feature of the measure would give the Office of the Education Ombudsman the task of reporting to the Legislature on school districts' implementation of these rights.
"The OEO has been a successful advocate for students and families in public education since its creation in 2006," Santos said. "This will give the office a little more muscle, and help families across the state truly feel like they are partners in the education process."
The bill number is HB 1762. It now heads to the state Senate for consideration.