Senator Kurt Schaefer Introduces Parental Rights Resolution to State Constitution

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JEFFERSON CITY — State Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, introduced a new Senate Joint Resolution Monday, Feb. 8, which creates a new provision to the Missouri Constitution relating to parental rights. Senate Joint Resolution 38 declares that every parent has a fundamental right to exercise control over all aspects of their minor children’s lives without governmental interference.  This right does not extend to any actions by the parent that would threaten or endanger the minor child, nor does it permit a parent to compel a minor child to have an abortion in any circumstance.

The proposed resolution also declares government entities would be required to obtain explicit permission from a parent before soliciting or sharing information obtained from a minor child about the child or family. Information gained through criminal investigation or through the child’s knowledge of academic subjects learned through the public school system are exempt from the permission requirement. Also included in SJR 38 is the guarantee that every parent should have the right to choose which setting is most appropriate for the education of their child.

Some circumstances in which government interference with parental rights are allowed include when a child is being protected from harm, when a parent has been found abusive or neglectful of a minor child, when a parent is physically or mentally incapable adequate care and when a court has assumed jurisdiction over a minor charged with criminal activity, among others.

The resolution also states any parents whose rights have been adversely affected are able to challenge the constitutionality of the law, policy or governmental act and will be allowed to seek damages and attorney’s fees.