26 October 2022

Michigan Legislature Adds Parental Rights Posting Requirement

Earlier this year, the Michigan Legislature enacted Public Act 213 of 2022, which amends the Revised School Code. The law does not add any substantive obligations for Michigan’s public school districts. Instead, it merely requires local school districts, ISDs, and public school academies to prominently post certain portions of Michigan law in various areas of schools and administrative buildings. The posting requirement is effective on January 1, 2023.

First, public school districts must post Section 1, Article VIII of the Michigan Constitution, which provides as follows:

Religion, morality and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.

Second, public school districts must post the text of MCL 380.10, which provides as follows:

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 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.

These provisions must be posted in a manner easily accessible to the public in each of the following areas:

  • The room(s) in which the board or board of directors conducts its meetings
  • An office in the district’s, ISD’s, or public school academy’s administrative building
  • The principal’s or chief administrator’s office at each school operated by the board or board of directors

But the above educational entities are not alone—there are also requirements that pertain to the Department of Education and State Board of Education.

To be sure, the impetus for the law is rooted in the culture wars, where public schools in Michigan and nationwide have become a battlefield for political skirmishes. Following fights over parental rights in the context of school closures, masks, distancing, vaccines, and—more recently—books and instructional materials, this latest development should not be a surprise to anyone who has paid attention.

Regardless of the broader motivation, Michigan’s public school districts, ISDs, and public school academies should ensure they comply with the new legislation. Administrators are encouraged to contact legal counsel should they have any questions.

Questions?  Contact the Miller Johnson’s Education team if you have any questions about this article.