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Washington's 'parents bill of rights' law partly on hold

Daniel James / Unsplash

A judge decided Friday to press pause on part of Washington’s new “parents bill of rights” law.

It comes as the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington leads a legal challenge to get the law thrown out. The plaintiffs say the measure undermines school-based support for LGBTQ youth, and that the law as written violates the state constitution.

Part of the law says schools must provide parents with their child’s school records, which includes mental health counseling and medical files. Under the measure, those records must also be provided within 10 business days of parents making those requests.

King County Superior Court Judge Micheal Scott decided Friday to freeze those parts of the law as the court case plays out, but didn’t halt implementation of the measure entirely.

That means other parts of the law will remain in place while the legal battle continues, including broad authority for parents to opt their kids out of classwork and requirements that schools notify parents if their child leaves campus to go to a youth shelter.

The law was created through the state’s initiative process after gaining support from thousands of voters and top Republicans in the state. The Legislature enacted the parents rights initiative, I-2081, alongside two other initiatives earlier this year. All three took effect earlier this month after a King County commissioner rejected an initial emergency request from the plaintiffs that sought to stop the “parents rights” measure from becoming law.

The core question in the case – whether the measure violates the state constitution – will be decided later on.

Copyright 2024 NWNews

Jeanie Lindsay is a state government reporter for the NW News Network. She previously covered education for The Seattle Times and Indiana Public Broadcasting.