Knowing about your rights as a parent in the public school system will help you about the legalities of small to major crises. Suppose you want to register in a new school, but don’t have the report cards or you are moving to the US from another country, then knowing the rights will help a great deal on understanding and resolving many issues. Here’s a list of the parent’s rights in public schools.
N parent’s rights in public schools
All states in the US have different rules, but there will only be some variations. Here are some rights we have chosen for you:
Right for free education
All children in the US have a right to free public school education. There are certain things that schools may charge for, such as library books which are overdue, school lunches, student groups etc. If you feel that the school is charging for something which is free according to the rights, then you can ask for the fee to be waived.
Though schools might say it is legal to pay for activities, but the fee is voluntary, and even if you don’t pay it, then it is illegal for the school to refuse the participation in clubs, sports etc. and you can question it according to the parent’s rights in public schools.
Immigrant children also have free education rights
The US Supreme Court in 1982 ruled that the children of immigrants too have the free education K-12 rights. So the immigration status of your child does not matter, you can still enroll him or her in a US public school, and he/she will have the same rights of students as other children. Public schools cannot ask for citizenship proof, and if they ask you whether you are immigrants, you need not answer. If you are hassled, it is against the federal law.
Right for safety in school
Teachers as well as students cannot bully your child about nationality, race, color, sex, ethnicity or religion. You have the right to ask for expulsion or suspension of any student who carry weapons/exclusives, or start a fight, rob students, sells drugs or sexually assaults any student.
Incredibly, teachers who are physically abusive in the name of school discipline are not under this right. Teachers can ‘paddle’ children but cannot slam children against walls, choke or punch children or else, according to rights of students, they can be arrested or suspended.
School has to show education records
If for any reason, you want to see your child’s education records, then according to the parent’s rights in public schools, you can request the school to show the records. The schools have to reveal the records within 45 days of your request, an in some US states, schools have to show records in less than 45 days.
If you are a parent of a child with disability, then you can visit classrooms to see if there are disable-friendly, or to just get an idea of the atmosphere of the school/classroom. You will also have additional services and rights regarding children education records.
The public schools must provide English instruction, because children who do not know the English language cannot participate fully. If your native language is another language, such Chinese, Spanish, Arabic, Hindi or any of the 350 languages spoken in America, then you can ask for the help of an interpreter to have the homework assigments and leasons translated into the language which your child understands. Many states offer bilingual programs to help immigrant children learn English as the second language.
Right against discrimination
Discrimination is illegal, as the US Constitution states. The constitution grants equal treatent to all, including students. If you feel your child is being excluded from preparatory classes for college due to race or class, then you can challenge it.
Gender based discrimination is illegal. For example if your boy is not allowed to attend cooking classes/home science or girl is not allowed to attend wood shop classes, you can complaint against it. Girls should have equal athletic opportunities, and a pregnant student can attend graduation and classes.
If your child is gay, then he or she has the right to take same-sex date to prom. There are rights for trans-gender children also.
Right for religion and free speech
Children have the rights to pray according to their religion, wear clothes according to belief, including hijab, bindi, crucifix, yarmulke and so on. Children can pray in school if it does not distract others. Schools, however cannot proselytize, or preach that one religion is better than others.
These are just a few of the rights that you have as a parent, there are many other rights which you can find out from the US education website or the education site of the State you are residing in.