Michigan House Bill 5703 Imposes New Posting Requirement
On Oct. 11, Governor Whitmer signed House Bill 5703: a law that will require schools to post notices including both a provision of the Michigan School Code that reaffirms the prominence of parental rights in school, as well as a portion of the Michigan Constitution. This law will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2023. Among those responsible for making certain these texts are “prominently posted and maintained” are the boards of directors of public school academies (and charter schools), the boards of school districts or intermediate school districts (ISDs), the Michigan Department of Education, and the State Board of Education.
State Rep. Annette Glenn (R-Midland) initially introduced House Bill 5703, amid controversy and debate surrounding the role of parental rights in a child’s school environment. By schools and boards taking steps to increase the visibility of these texts, supporters of the new law hope that educators are reminded of the importance of parental involvement in educational decision-making.
Under this amendment to the Revised School Code, the following texts must be displayed:
Section 1 of Article VIII of the Michigan Constitution of 1963:
Religion, morality and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.
Section 10 of the Revised School Code:
It is the natural, fundamental right of parents and legal guardians to determine and direct the care, teaching, and education of their children. The public schools of this state serve the needs of the pupils by cooperating with the pupil’s parents and legal guardians to develop the pupil’s intellectual capabilities and vocational skills in a safe and positive environment.
The law also specifies the areas where these notices must be posted including: the rooms where the board holds meetings, rooms where the State Board of Education holds meetings, a school district’s, ISD’s, or PSA’s administrative building, the principal’s office, and buildings that are operated by the Department of Education.
In addition to the location requirements, employees of the Department of Education and State Board of Education must have these notices included in training materials and manuals.
Reminders for Districts:
While this new law requires that these two specific provisions be posted – it does not preclude the boards of school districts from posting additional provisions in a prominent way.
Under MCL 380.11a(3), boards can “exercise a power incidental or appropriate to the performance of a function related to operation of a public school.” Boards can exercise such power in a wide array of areas, including making decisions related to educating pupils, providing safe activities, maintaining school property, using school finances, and making hiring decisions for school employees. Boards of school districts ultimately have the right to set their own policies, including what messages they choose to noticeably display in various school buildings. Boards may consider posting MCL 380.11a(3) along with the newly-required provisions.
If you have questions or would like additional information, contact a member of our Education team.
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