Proposed legislation requires statement of rights for students

Alexandria Osborne

WNPA News Service

Public schools must adopt a “Statement of Student Rights,” that includes freedom of speech and religion, the right to assemble, the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness under legislation that has passed the Senate and is now in the House.

Engrossed House Bill 1478, by Rep. Joe Timmons, D-Bellingham, passed the House with a 61-35 vote.

“By having a consolidated statement of student rights that are available to students and by having that statement incorporated into civics education in K-12 schools, my hope is that this will create lifelong learners in our democracy,” he said.

The statement would provide examples of student rights from federal and state constitutions and statutes but is not intended to be a comprehensive description of student rights and the way they are obtained.

Every school district would be required to develop educational and promotional materials that would incorporate the statement, with a link to the statement on school websites, social media platforms and other communication forms used by students.

The materials would also be required to be incorporated into the education curriculum in a mandatory half credit civics course.

Timmons said he is passionate about civics education and found that passion and the importance of it in schools when he worked at Western Washington University for the Monroe Institute for Civic Education.