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School board approves parental rights policy

The Campbell County School Board in discussion at a meeting on Tuesday, May 14, 2024. (Julianna Landis/ County 17)

GILLETTE, Wyo. — On Tuesday, the Campbell County School Board approved a policy that outlines parental rights for district families and will be implemented next school year.

Following the passing of Senate File 009 in the Wyoming legislature, schools across the state are required to implement policies on how to notify parents of information regarding their students as well as procedures for receiving parental complaints.

The policy, which was unanimously approved by the board, reads as follows: “The District recognizes the right of parents to make decisions regarding the care and control of their student(s). Legal guardians will be notified annually of their right to file a complaint if they believe their rights as described in this policy have been violated. The procedures for filing a complaint related to the rights in this policy are found under regulation 8380 Rules of Practice Governing Hearings and Contested Cases Before the Board of Trustees. Legal guardians have the responsibility to update their contact information annually and as changes occur.”

Additional documents from the meeting agenda explain certain language in the policy in more detail. Along with providing definitions of certain terms or wording used in the policy language, they also note explicitly that while there are parameters of what will be required to report back to parents, the policy will in no way interfere with reporting instances of abuse, neglect or obligations to report either of those scenarios with the Department of Family Services.

The policy also briefly mentions gender identity and sexual orientation, but says that there are many scenarios outside of formal instruction where these topics may come up organically, and are not required to be part of parental notification. Such instances include questions posed to faculty by students, student-to-student conversations on these topics or discussion of a person’s family members, among others.

Per the law, parents will be notified annually of their right to file a complaint if they feel they have not been adequately informed by the policy standards. The policy will be fully implemented by July 1, 2024.

During implementation, the official complaint procedure must go through the board’s official rule-making process, Human Resources Manager Larry Resnicek said. That process requires taking out newspaper ads to notify the public and allowing a 45-day comment period, meaning it will be fully implemented at some point this summer.

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