Implementation of I-2081, the Parents’ Bill of Rights

In March 2024, the Washington State Legislature passed Initiative 2081 (I-2081), known as the Parents’ Bill of Rights, which took effect on June 6, 2024. While several provisions within the initiative appear to overlap or mirror existing law, there are some provisions that conflict with existing federal law.

This initiative does not alter or reduce student privacy rights protected by federal law. The initiative states that parents and legal guardians have the right to inspect their child’s public school records, a right that is already outlined in existing law. However, the initiative defines what constitutes as a “record,” to include items such as medical or health records; records of any mental health counseling; and any other student-specific files, documents, or other materials maintained by the school.

Implementation of I-2081

As directed by the Legislature, OSPI is developing technical guidance and a tool to assist with the implementation of I-2081. While much of the initiative aligns with existing state and federal laws, some provisions, particularly those related to student privacy and safety, require further clarification. OSPI published initial guidance on June 7, 2024, and intends to publish additional guidance prior to the start of the 2024-25 school year, though this may change due to ongoing litigation.

In the meantime, local education agencies (LEA) must comply with both I-2081 and existing laws, ensuring alignment with the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and other relevant federal laws. LEAs should avoid changing or enacting policies based on I-2081 until statewide guidance is provided. For any uncertainties or potential conflicts with existing laws, OSPI recommends LEAs consult legal counsel and share questions with OSPI for inclusion in the comprehensive guidance.

Existing Statutory References for I-2081

OSPI recognizes that several provisions of I-2081 appear to overlap or mirror existing law without providing textual references. Bulletin 037-24: Initial Guidance for Implementation of Initiative 2081 provides a chart to aid in cross-referencing the provisions of the initiative with existing law. 

Reporting Questions, Comments, or Concerns

At the direction of the Legislature, OSPI is collecting questions, comments, and concerns from Washingtonians related to the implementation of the Parents' Bill of Rights. The Legislature has further directed OSPI to share these questions, comments, and concerns with the Legislature on a monthly basis.