The fate of several bills pertaining to public education and parental rights that were introduced to the Texas legislature is up in the air, with less than two weeks to go in the regular session.
In a letter to state legislators, the parental rights advocacy network Texas Education 911 implored the lawmakers to advance some of its key legislative priorities, which primarily deal with increasing transparency in school districts and enabling enforcement actions against local school systems that parents can pursue.
“When districts know laws will be enforced, and transparency increased, infractions by school districts will rapidly and naturally decrease. This will enable relationships between parents and school districts to heal. Our children learn well only when schools are acting in full partnership with parents,” the organization claimed.
Texas Education 911 also included a document outlining several allegations made against state school districts that may have run afoul of Texas law or done things that resulted in legally-actionable damages affecting students or parents.
One of the alleged incidents in North Texas involved multiple Frisco ISD school board trustees holding a meeting with constituents, during which — the document claims — the trustees “colluded secretly” to “violate [the] Open Meetings Act.”
The controversy at Frisco ISD was previously reported on by The Dallas Express.
Another incident detailed in the document involved alleged retaliation against a student by a teacher and administrators after reporting the teaching of an “unlawful curriculum,” possibly a reference to the state prohibition against teaching critical race theory in public school classrooms.
Some of the bills highlighted in Texas Education 911’s plea to legislators include HB 1924, which would establish an ombudsman to serve “as a neutral party in assisting parents … with complaints regarding issues involving … the State Board of Education … or a school district or open-enrollment charter school.”
The organization also encouraged state lawmakers to pass HB 5290, which would strip public school systems and their elected leaderships of sovereign immunity — a legal principle that shields government entities from most civil suits.
If enacted, such bills could result in multiple lawsuits against Dallas ISD, which multiple district parents and community members have claimed allows students ready access to library books some believe to be obscene or pornographic, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.
Neither bill currently has a chance of passing this regular session, with HB 1924 failing to receive a committee hearing and HB 5290 left pending in committee. Still, the possibility of a special session being called by Gov. Greg Abbott over public schools could open the door for a focused effort by legislators to hash out some of the parental rights bills left pending in May, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.