July 24 marks the 28th celebration of National Parents’ Day, which, according to a unanimous resolution of Congress in 1994, is a “recurring, perennial day of commemoration … in furtherance of recognizing, uplifting, and supporting the role of parents in the rearing of their children.”
But today, instead of parents being recognized, uplifted and supported in their role, they are excluded and marginalized. Local, state and federal government policies undermine parental rights by imposing harmful ideologies that divide children based on their race and promote the falsehood that boys can become girls and girls can become boys. And parents across the nation — from Wisconsin to Massachusetts to Florida — aren’t being celebrated; they’re being forced to sue and fight for their rights.
Children belong first and foremost to their families, and parents have the fundamental right to make the important choices about their children’s upbringing, education and healthcare. This right includes deciding what school their child attends, the curriculum their child learns from, what religion (if any) their child is taught, and many other important decisions around daily living.
In most homes in America, parents make the decisions regarding their child’s nutrition — what foods their child can or cannot eat, and even when they can eat. Menus and mealtimes are almost always set by parents. Indeed, although there are exceptions, most parents do not allow their child to skip a healthy breakfast, have a snack right before mealtime or choose to eat a doughnut for dinner.
No reasonable person questions a parent’s right to control and plan their child’s diet and when they eat. Yet statewide counseling bans and local school policies usurp a parent’s right to decide the best mental health treatment for their child.
If parents have decision-making authority over their child’s menu and mealtimes, and children aren’t even allowed to take an aspirin at school without parental permission, doesn’t it naturally follow that parents have the right to make important life decisions that involve their child’s physical, mental and emotional wellbeing?
Apparently not for some schools like Harrisonburg (Va.) City Public Schools, which force teachers and school officials to keep parents in the dark about their children’s gender confusion at school and even treat children as if they are the opposite sex without informing or seeking the consent of their parents.
Nor for some schools like Albemarle County (Va.) Public Schools, which teach children their success in life will be limited because of their race or ethnicity, and some children are inherently racist because of their immutable characteristics.
Parents have the right to know that their children’s schools won’t hide critical information about their children from them. Parents have the right to be assured that their children’s school won’t teach a politicized curriculum that does not align with, or even violates, their family’s values.
So, as our nation celebrates another National Parents’ Day, parents need policies and laws that protect their fundamental rights. One solution to this daunting task is the Promise to America’s Parents, which offers a practical roadmap of 10 building blocks parents, community leaders and lawmakers can use to safeguard parental rights. Alliance Defending Freedom, The Heritage Foundation and the Family Policy Alliance joined forces with a coalition of grassroots groups, policy organizations, law firms and think tanks to collectively meet the need.
The Promise’s goal is to empower parents to protect their parental rights (and also protect their children) through increased government accountability and increased choice and transparency surrounding their children’s education and healthcare.
Parental rights are universal. Parents from every walk of life — from racially, religiously and politically diverse backgrounds — can unite around efforts like the Promise to work with community leaders, policymakers and lawmakers to preserve America’s enduring tradition of honoring parental rights.
Parents are entitled to the primary role they have in the upbringing and education of their children, and this role must be preserved. From local school boards to state legislatures to Congress, parents can, in fact, advocate for laws and policies that provide them with accountability, choice and transparency. Still, they don’t always know how they can do that. This is the vacuum that The Promise is seeking to fill.
Parents are a powerful political force. And parents can continue to act on this momentum to restore and preserve our nation’s rich history of “recognizing, uplifting, and supporting the role of parents in the rearing of their children.” It will take more than one day per year, but National Parents’ Day is a great place to start.