Back to School: Know Your Rights
Many schools across Texas are heading back to school, and it’s important for students and parents to know their rights in public school. As a parent, you may be concerned what your child will be learning in the classroom or about your ability to choose homeschooling. As a student, you may be wondering if you can pray, lead a religious club, or even say “Merry Christmas” at school. Texas Values is here as a resource to guide you through the school year challenges including parental rights, curriculum, and school choice.
Parents have the right to direct the education of their children. This right has been recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Parents have the right to know what their child is learning and should take every opportunity to know who is teaching their children.
Parents should be aware of the following:
- Starting in 2021, a new Texas law requires parents to give their permission before students can be taught human sexuality instruction (opt-in for sex education).
- Parents should be aware that any subject in school can be an opportunity for LGBTQ political ideology to be taught. Download this free guide from our friends at Family Policy Alliance on how to protect your children.
- Some school districts in Texas are putting girls in danger by allowing biological males to use their locker rooms and play on their sports teams. Read about how to stand up against this abuse. Texas passed a law protecting girls in high school sports last session.
Religious Liberty Rights for Students
In addition to a reasonable expectation of privacy, students have numerous freedoms protected by laws such as the Texas Schoolchildren’s Religious Liberty Act and the Merry Christmas Law (both of which Texas Values team members helped to pass through the legislature).
Students have the right to:
- Engage in student-led prayer;
- Have student led Christian clubs;
- Hold student led bible studies on campus;
- Express their Christian values in class;
- Share their faith with other students; and
- Acknowledge Christian holidays.
Under Senate Bill (S.B.) 797 passed last legislative session, schools in Texas are required to display the national motto if signs with “In God We Trust” are donated to the school district or purchased from private donations.
U.S. Supreme Court precedent upholds the student’s right to religious freedom at school. If you as a student or a student’s parent face an infringement on any of the rights listed above, please contact Texas Values at (512) 478-2220 or email [email protected]
Parental choice is becoming even more necessary in a time where kids are exposed to sexually explicit content and inappropriate materials in school libraries and databases. Many public schools read books about gender-confused children to the whole classroom and intentionally encourage kids to keep things from their parents. Additionally, last session, legislators passed a law, SB 3, which bans the teaching of critical race theory in the classroom. Currently, the State Board of Education is using this law as a reference to draft the social studies standards for public school students.
Many parents are making the choice to homeschool their children this school year.
- Parents have the right to withdraw their children from public schools and choose private schools or homeschool them instead.
- Texas Values offers resources to help you understand your rights when withdrawing your child from public school.
We pray that these resources are helpful as you prepare to send your children back into the classroom. Texas Values will continue to fight for parental rights in our state.