Group to host discussion on parental rights

The Parental Rights Empowerment panel discussion, hosted by the Social Conservatives of Pennsylvania, will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Oct. 30 at the Genetti Hotel, 200 W. Fourth St.

The event is free and open to the public, and free tickets for the event can be obtained at www.PAparents.eventbrite.com.

“There’s so much going on right now with freedoms within this nation being eroded, one of them being parental rights,” said Dilonna Coran, president of Social Conservatives of Pennsylvania.

She said people need to become educated about their rights being at risk.

“I think our parental rights and our religious freedoms are fundamentally constitutional, God-given rights that we feel we have a God-given responsibility to direct our children’s education and health care for our children,” she said. “The parents should make that decision rather than the government or the state.”

The featured panelists for the evening are Will Estrada, director of federal relations with Home School Legal Defense Association; Vickie Suarez, state director for Parental Rights of PA; and Diane Gramley, president for the American Family Association of Pennsylvania.

Coran said that new legislation could protect parental rights.

“Pennsylvania does not have a state statute that explicitly defines and protects parental rights as fundamental rights,” she said. State Rep. Will Tallman, R-New Oxford, “has introduced House Bill 855, a bill to protect the rights of parents.”

She said the panel will discuss the importance of protecting parental rights.

“The main goal of the Parental Rights Forum is to get information out about the loss of parental rights in the country and the need for a parental rights amendment to the U.S. Constitution and state constitution’s, i.e. PA’s House Bill 855,” she said.

The discussion will cover how those rights have been lost over time.

“They’re going to be hearing about current legislation and current hot topic issues that are of interest and protecting our family freedom and constitutional rights for parents,” Coran said.

She said awareness starts on a local level in order to control who has the final say for children — parents or the government.

“We believe that these decisions really begin locally. We’re trying to get others engaged and informed, get them activated on things in interest to them,” she said.

She said parental rights can be threatened in many ways.

“You’ve got home schooling laws … perhaps Common Core coming in, mandating curriculums that we can or cannot use,” she said. “Any federal regulations that might come in and would affect us here within our region.”

The goal of the evening is to equip parents to preserve, protect and exercise their parental rights, according to a news release.

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