WFA STANCE: Supporting
WFA CATEGORY: Education / Family
STATUS: Senate Introduced and Referred to S01 – Judiciary 2/23/24
NEXT ACTION: Senate Judiciary Committee Meeting – 3/4/24 at118:00 AM
View Text of the Bill: https://wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2024/HB0092
AN ACT relating to parental rights; clarifying all courts in the state shall not infringe on parental rights; specifying applicability of parental rights protections; specifying duties for school district boards of trustees; and providing for an effective date.
Wyoming Family Alliance supports legislation that protects parental rights in courts and in schools.
2/22/23 – Wyoming Family Alliance was initially in support of this bill, but with an amendment by Rep. Dan Zwonitzer (R, HD-43 Laramie County), it now allows school boards to withhold critical health information from parents! Without significant changes, we will have to stand against this legislation. We will keep you posted.
2/22/23 – Wyoming Family Alliance believes that the best legislation often balances two competing concerns. For instance, HB0092 aims to ensure parents are informed about important information regarding their child, while Amendment HB0092H2001 aims to prevent parents from being informed if doing so might put a child at risk for abuse.
Protecting children from genuine abuse is certainly important. However, we are concerned that someone who is considered a “reasonably prudent person” (such as a teacher or school counselor would likely be presumed) is now put in the position of predicting the possible intent of a parent and possible outcome of abuse.
If no previous abuse has occurred against the child, this could be subjective speculation colored by the “reasonable person’s” worldview. (One has only to look at the case in the Rock Springs school district to see how this has played out in Wyoming.) And if the child has a history of being abused by the parent, that is a separate issue.
Parents cannot be held accountable for a crime they have not committed because someone believes they might. In the same way, information should not be withheld from parents because someone believes they might abuse their child.
This is where we find concern and seek to learn more about how this amendment could be applied, potentially undermining the whole spirit of the bill.
2/23/24 – Wyoming Family Alliance briefly withdrew support of this legislation after an amendment that would have removed anything of value in the bill was passed. Thankfully, the harmful amendment was removed on Friday in an overwhelming vote.
This bill has completed all the steps in the House of Representatives and is in the Senate.