The past two years have brought the reality of how much impact our school system, and the local school boards that govern it, have on our daily lives - including the types of things that are taught and emphasized to children from Kindergarten through 12th grade. From concerns about reading materials that are assigned, to Critical Race Theory, to over-politicization in the classroom, parents around the country have risen up to get engaged directly in the process. This includes addressing their local boards of education about issues that concern them.
Sadly, last year, there were attempts by the Biden administration and the Justice Department to intimidate and silence the voices of parents for speaking against the overall agenda on curriculum, COVID restrictions and doing things like removing Student Resource Officers from our schools that was being pushed. (Please note, our Carroll County Board of Education was not a part of this problem - they have steadfastly taken input from parents in public meetings and been responsive).
Because of this national trend -which we have seen demonstrated with some local boards in Maryland - I believe it is vitally important to affirm the rights of parents to peacefully assemble, speak freely, and petition county boards of education on any topic; and condemn the intimidation of a parent who is expressing these rights. That is why I have sponsored Senate Joint Resolution 7 (SJ 7 - Support of Parents Rights to Bring Grievances to County Boards of Education) which does exactly that.
I am writing to you to ask for your help. SJ 7 has a hearing next Tuesday, March 8 at 1 pm in the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee. If passed, the Maryland General Assembly would be publicly reaffirming the rights of parents to peacefully voice their concerns to their local boards of education without intimidation.
You can make your voice heard by signing up to testify on this bill before the committee on 3/8 at 1 pm. If you are interested, you will have to create a MyMGA Tracking account on the Maryland General Assembly website. You will not be able to sign up to testify on SJ 7 until Monday March 7 at 4 pm. At this time you will be able to log in, click on ‘Witness Signup’, then navigate to the Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee where you will see SJ 7 listed. Signed up witnesses are welcome to submit written testimony, and will receive 2 minutes during the bill hearing to testify before the committee if they can attend in person.
Even if you are not able to attend in person - you can still submit written testimony to the committee about your support for this - and feel free to share experiences you've had that are relevant to this issue.
Feel free to also share this email with friends across the state so that they are aware and have the opportunity to testify. If you have any questions or concerns about how to sign up to testify, please feel free to contact me. My office staff will be happy to help those who find themselves struggling with this process. Thank you for standing with me as we support the right to speak on behalf of our children, grandchildren and taxpayers as well.
Senator Justin Ready