Wisconsin Governor Vetoes “Parents’ Bill of Rights,” Ban on CRT, and Protections for Unvaccinated

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Wisconsin’s Democratic Governor Tony Evers vetoed a slew of Republican-backed bills on Friday, some of which would have given parents more rights in determining what was taught and how their children were being treated in public schools in respect to values-based ideology, gender identity, and COVID-19 vaccine status.

While Evers signed 15 bills into law, he vetoed 28 including the Parents’ Bill of Rights, which The Epoch Times reported would have enabled parents to opt their children out of certain lessons on the basis of religious conviction, to determine which pronouns children were addressed with at school, and more accessibility to the material that was being taught.

In what many conservatives might characterize as rather ironic in light of current debates over such legislation, Evers, while acknowledging that “parents are the first and best teachers our kids have,” said he was vetoing the bill because he opposed using children as “political pawns.”

“Politicians on both sides of the aisle have to stop using our kids as political pawns,” he wrote in a statement. “I am vetoing this bill in its entirety because I object to sowing division in our schools, which only hurts our kids and learning in our classrooms.”

Evers also vetoed a bill banning controversial critical race theory ideology, an academic framework of discussing systemic racism which many warn is divisive and racist itself, and that would have protected those who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 from discrimination.

State Rep. Rick Gundrum, a Republican and the author of the Parents’ Bill of Rights, declared that “Governor Evers doesn’t seem to care that parents are not being informed or are being misled about what is happening in the classrooms.”

State Sen. Alberta Darling, the bill’s co-author, echoed that “Governor Evers seems to believe that government should have a bigger say than parents and that is flat-out wrong.”

This comes just weeks after Florida passed its controversial Parental Rights in Education Act, which banned sexuality education in younger grades and restricted it to an “age-appropriate” level for older children.

Republicans, led by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, one of the most prominent GOP leaders currently in office, have put concerns over classroom teaching material front and center in 2022, following last year’s oftentimes heated, viral confrontations between parents and school boards and widespread scrutiny over public school curricula and COVID-19 and gender identity policies.

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