As a parent, you should be able to depend on the inherent ability to direct the education and upbringing of your children. But sometimes it may not seem like that is the case. You may feel as though you are battling against a society that seeks to displace you in the important role you play in the lives of your children.
Mississippi has several laws that may be of interest to you as you fulfill your all-important role as parent, including:
The Fairness Act requires any public school, public institution of higher learning or institution of higher learning that is a member of the NCAA, NAIA, MHSAA, or NJCCA to designate its interscholastic or intramural athletic teams or sports according to biological sex. It prohibits athletic teams or sports designated for females, women, or girls from being open to students of the male sex.
Commonly known as the CRT bill, this law prohibits public institutions of higher learning, community/junior colleges, school districts or public schools, and public charter schools from directing or otherwise compelling students to personally affirm, adopt, or adhere to the tenet that any sex, race, ethnicity, religion, or national origin is inherently superior or inferior. The bill also bars schools from teaching courses of instruction or units of study that direct or otherwise compel the affirmation, adoption, or adherence to those tenets. Schools are also prohibited from making distinctions or classifications of students based on race.
Sexual risk avoidance education was added as an education option with abstinence-only or abstinence-plus education curriculum, and each local school board is now required to adopt a policy implementing abstinence-only, abstinence-plus, or sexual risk avoidance education into its curriculum no later than the start of the 2023-2024 school year. Abstinence-only education remains the state standard for sex-related education in public schools. Any time sex-related education is discussed or taught, boys and girls are still required by this law to be separated into different classrooms to prevent sex-related education being conducted while boys and girls are in the company of one another.
The School Safety Guardian Act creates a training program in the Mississippi Office of Homeland Security and allows schools to establish School Safety Guardian Programs at their respective schools. These programs allow designated and trained school employees who have participated in the training program to carry concealed firearms to protect students in active shooter situations or other situations that would cause death or serious bodily harm on the school campus or immediate vicinity of the school campus.
K-12 schools must now help protect students from pornography online, requiring vendors and other entities that provide digital or online resources to students in kindergarten through twelfth grade to have specific safety policies and technology protection measures in place that block a minor’s access to certain inappropriate and harmful materials and prohibit or prevent minors from sending, receiving, viewing, or downloading certain inappropriate and harmful materials. The Attorney General’s Office has the authority to investigate compliance.
Age verification online requires commercial entities that publish or distribute material that is harmful to minors to perform reasonable age verification measures on their website to verify the age of individuals attempting to access the material.
The REAP (Regulate Experimental Adolescent Procedures) Act prohibits a person from knowingly providing gender transition procedures to any person under 18 years of age and prohibits a person from aiding or abetting the performance or inducement of gender transition procedures to any person under 18. The bill also prohibits the use of public funds or tax deduction for gender transition procedures. A person under the age of 18 can bring an action under this law through a parent or next friend, and a person may bring an action in their own name upon reaching majority at any time until 30 years after reaching the age of majority. The Attorney General is required to enforce compliance.
The MAMA (Mississippi Access to Maternal Assistance) program tasks the Attorney General’s Office with the oversight, administration, and coordination of a website and mobile app that provides expectant mothers and new parents with information about services and resources related to adoption assistance, child care, domestic abuse protection, early intervention, food and clothing, job training, unemployment benefits, paternity, parenting skills, mental health, and prenatal and postpartum care provided by the state and private entities.
The Foster Parents’ Bill of Rights and Responsibilities is a list of rights and responsibilities designed to help and support foster parents as they seek to fulfill their vital role providing a child love and stability during a difficult journey, and to ensure that the best interests of the child always remains paramount.
You can read the full text of the Foster Parents’ Bill of Rights and Responsibilities here.
The Mississippi Vulnerable Person Abuse Registry will be run by the Department of Public Safety and will contain the name of any individual who has been convicted of the crime of abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a vulnerable person. The bill requires a care facility to search the Registry for employees or prospective employees, and public search will also be possible.
Parents with young children are often also caring for aging parents, and this resource will help you provide the safest care for your loved ones.
The Mississippi Department of Health has procedures in place for parents to seek both medical and religious exemptions to school vaccinations.
Download a copy of this card here.