Legislation requiring a Statement of Student Rights advances to Senate 

OLYMPIA, Wash., March 27, 2023— 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 proposed legislation that has passed the House and is now in the Senate.

Engrossed House Bill 1478, sponsored by Rep. Joe Timmons, D-Bellingham, passed the Washington State House on March 2 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,” Timmons 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.

Alexandria Osborne: The Washington State Journal is a non-profit news website funded by the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association Foundation. Learn more at wastatejournal.org.

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