(2019, March) | Useful to Parent Centers and the families they serve
Is it legal for a teacher to spank your child? Do immigrants have the right to a free public school education?
Finding answers to these and other loaded questions about your rights and your children’s rights in U.S. public schools isn’t obvious. This article from Great Schools can help. It begins by pointing out that the answers don’t necessarily spring from federal law, because education is primarily a state and local responsibility under the U.S. Constitution.
Therefore, to learn your rights as a public school parent, think local. Start by checking the standards of your state’s Department of Education. After looking to state laws, turn to your school district and child’s school for answers. You can find information on your school and district by looking both up at GreatSchools.org.
That said, in the centuries that have followed since the Constitution was written, the Supreme Court has added substantial constitutional rights for parents and children. Congress has passed sweeping education reforms like the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (now IDEA), the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (now called the Every Student Succeeds Act), and numerous other landmark policies. It is within that context that the article enumerates 15 of parents’ unalienable rights in the U.S. public school system, beginning with “the right to a free education.”
Also see the companion article, 8 Rights Parents Don’t Have in American Public Schools: