HALL MONITOR: “YES” on the Parents’ Bill of Rights in Ohio (HB 8)

Name: Ohio House Bill 8, the Parents Bill of Rights 

Summary: Establishes the fundamental rights of parents to direct the “upbringing, education, and care of the parent’s child.” Would require schools to adopt parental inclusion policies. 

Status: Passed by the Ohio House of Representatives on June 21, 2023 by 65-29. In the Senate Education Committee. 

Primary sponsors: Representatives D.J. Swearingen and Sara Carruthers. Several cosponsors, listed here

In Ohio, a sponsor drafts and introduces a piece of legislation for consideration. Co-sponsors then add their names in support of the bill. 

Breakdown: Ohio House Bill 8 would establish fundamental parental rights in Ohio. It would require school districts to create parental rights and inclusion policies that: 

  • Ensure that materials provided to children in schools is age-appropriate
  • Allow parents to opt thier children out of any instruction that includes sexually explicit content
  • Notify parents about changes to mental health and medical care provided at school
  • Prohibit schools from hiding education and health records from a student’s parents

House Bill 8 would prevent schools from instructing children to hide information about their “mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being” from their parents. 

Why does PDE Action support this bill? 

Parents’ involvement in a child’s education is vital for that child’s success. Unfortunately, more than 1,000 school districts across the country—including at least three in Ohio—have adopted policies that say parents may not be told if their child decides to use another name and prontouns at school. House Bill 8 would ensure schools, through parental exclusion policies or other measures, may not usurp the fundamental rights of parents to direct the care and upbringing of their children. 

The bill specifies that nothing within it should prevent teachers from reporting neglect or abuse of students; further, “sexuality content” as defined in the bill does not include sex abuse prevention instruction.