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ISBA will track parents’ complaints, pledges to protect private info

ISBA will track parents’ complaints, pledges to protect private info

Dustin Hurst
November 19, 2015
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November 19, 2015

The Idaho School Board Association will track and log complaints that arise as a result of a new parental rights law, which Idaho lawmakers passed in early 2015.

The tracking plan, spelled out in a resolution approved last week at the ISBA’s annual meeting in Coeur d’Alene, now becomes the ISBA’s legislative agenda for the next two years.

ISBA delegates approved Resolution No. 5, which mandates the group’s administration to track and log each time a parent complains that a school may have violated her parental rights.

Parent’s rights recognized by the 2015 Idaho law include a mother and father’s right to guide their children’s education, healthcare, and religious upbringing.

This week ISBA President Karen Echeveria told IdahoReporter.com that districts will strip all private information -- including student and parent names -- from complaints before submitting them to the ISBA for entry into a central database.

Echeveria pledged, “No confidential information would be relayed to us.”

The ISBA won’t release the data to the public at any time, but Idaho lawmakers will receive it in reports. Even then, Echeveria said, the ISBA will give only “broad” presentations about trends in schools.

ISBA delegates did not pass Resolution 5 as originally written by its submitting author, the Pocatello-Chubbuck School District. That version asked lawmakers to “hold at bay” further expansion of parental rights. Echeveria said delegates may have found that language “more inflammatory” than necessary.

She didn’t say which district delegates moved to remove the language, but confirmed the Pocatello-Chubbuck School District did not initiate the action.

Still, the changes made did not appease Middleton resident Tammy Nichols, one of the parents who initially blew the whistle on the ISBA’s plans.

On Thursday Nichols told IdahoReporter.com, “The original language used to begin with is telling and clearly reveals the true intent regarding parental rights.” She added, “This whole activity is like a magic trick of smoke and mirrors.”

Nichols said she doesn’t trust the ISBA to keep its word to protect student and parent privacy. She asserted, “The reality is regardless of this pledge, information will still be gathered, and the ability to cross reference the data to the individual will still exist, and it will still be dispersed without control.”

She noted, “The excuse continually given in all of this data mining quagmire is that we have to do whatever the federal government tells us to do. Parental rights are under attack.”

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