2023 Regular Session
To: Judiciary A
By: Representative Ford (73rd)
AN ACT TO ESTABLISH THE "FAMILIES' RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES ACT OF 2023"; TO DEFINE TERMINOLOGY USED HEREIN; TO ESTABLISH THAT A PARENT'S LIBERTY TO DIRECT THE UPBRINGING, EDUCATION, HEALTH CARE AND MENTAL HEALTH OF HIS OR HER CHILD IS A FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT; TO PROHIBIT THE STATE OR ANY POLITICAL SUBDIVISION THEREOF FROM SUBSTANTIALLY BURDENING A PARENT'S FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT WITHOUT DEMONSTRATING THAT THE BURDEN IS REQUIRED BY A COMPELLING GOVERNMENTAL INTEREST; TO PROVIDE THAT ALL PARENTAL RIGHTS ARE EXCLUSIVELY RESERVED TO A PARENT OF A CHILD WITHOUT OBSTRUCTION BY OR INTERFERENCE FROM THE STATE OR ANY POLITICAL SUBDIVISION THEREOF; TO PROVIDE THAT ABUSE OR NEGLECT OF A CHILD BY A PARENT OR THE ACTION OR DECISION OF A PARENT THAT WOULD END LIFE ARE NOT AUTHORIZED BY THIS ACT; TO PROHIBIT EMPLOYEES OF THIS STATE AND ANY POLITICAL SUBDIVISION THEREOF, EXCEPT FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT PERSONNEL, FROM ENCOURAGING OR COERCING A CHILD TO WITHHOLD INFORMATION FROM THE CHILD'S PARENT; TO FURTHER PROHIBIT SUCH EMPLOYEES FROM WITHHOLDING INFORMATION THAT IS RELEVANT TO A CHILD'S PHYSICAL, EMOTIONAL OR MENTAL HEALTH FROM A CHILD'S PARENT; TO REQUIRE THE BOARD OF EDUCATION OF A SCHOOL DISTRICT TO DEVELOP AND ADOPT A POLICY TO PROMOTE THE INVOLVEMENT OF PARENTS OF CHILDREN ENROLLED IN THE DISTRICT'S SCHOOLS; TO PRESCRIBE THE MINIMUM REQUIREMENT PROCEDURES TO BE ADDRESSED BY THE POLICY; TO PROVIDE THE BOARD OF EDUCATION OF A SCHOOL DISTRICT WITH THE DISCRETION TO ADOPT A POLICY TO PROVIDE TO PARENTS THE INFORMATION IN AN ELECTRONIC FORM; TO REQUIRE PARENTS TO SUBMIT A WRITTEN OR ELECTRONIC REQUEST FOR THE CHILD'S INFORMATION TO THE SCHOOL PRINCIPAL OR THE SUPERINTENDENT OF THE SCHOOL DISTRICT; TO REQUIRE THE SCHOOL PRINCIPAL OR SUPERINTENDENT TO PROVIDE THE REQUESTED INFORMATION TO THE PARENTS WITHIN TEN DAYS OF RECEIVING THE REQUEST, OR SUBMIT TO THE PARENT A WRITTEN EXPLANATION OF THE REASONS FOR THE DENIAL OF THE REQUESTED INFORMATION; TO PRESCRIBE THE PROCESS BY WHICH A PARENT MAY SUBMIT A FORMAL CONSIDERATION OF THE REQUEST OF INFORMATION WITH THE SCHOOL BOARD IF THE REQUESTED INFORMATION IS NOT RECEIVED 15 DAYS AFTER SUBMITTING THE INITIAL REQUEST; TO STIPULATE THE LIMITATIONS PLACED UPON PERSONS, CORPORATIONS, ASSOCIATIONS, ORGANIZATIONS, STATE SUPPORTED INSTITUTIONS OR INDIVIDUALS EMPLOYED BY ANY OF THESE ENTITIES TO PROVIDE ANY MEDICAL OR MENTAL HEALTH SERVICE OR PROCEDURE ON A CHILD WITHOUT FIRST OBTAINING THE CONSENT OF THE CHILD'S PARENT, EXCEPT AS OTHERWISE PROVIDED BY LAW OR COURT ORDER; TO PRESCRIBE EXCEPTIONS TO THE LIMITATION WHEN PARENTAL CONSENT IS NOT CAPABLE OF BEING GIVEN OR IN EMERGENCY SITUATIONS WHEN IMMINENT BODILY HARM OR DEATH COULD RESULT; TO SPECIFY THE MANNER BY WHICH PARENTAL CONSENT MUST BE VERIFIED IF TELEMEDICINE IS PROVIDED; TO ESTABLISH A CAUSE OF ACTION FOR VIOLATION OF THIS ACT; TO PROVIDE THAT THIS ACT SHALL SERVE AS A DEFENSE TO ANY CAUSE OF ACTION THAT IS RAISED AS A RESULT OF A VIOLATION THEREOF; TO PROVIDE THAT THE RULES OF CONSTRUCTION SHALL PROVIDE BROAD PROTECTION OF A PARENT'S FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS AS INALIENABLE UNLESS THOSE RIGHTS HAVE BEEN LEGALLY WAIVED OR LEGALLY TERMINATED; TO AMEND SECTION 37-3-49, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THE PARENT OF EACH PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENT WITH THE RIGHT TO RECEIVE EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION FROM THE SCHOOL PRINCIPAL AS TO THE MANNER IN WHICH INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS ARE USED TO IMPLEMENT THE SCHOOL'S CURRICULAR OBJECTIVES; TO AMEND SECTION 37-13-173, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE PARENTS THE AUTHORITY TO OPT THEIR CHILDREN OUT OF ANY INSTRUCTION OF THE SCHOOL DISTRICT'S COMPREHENSIVE HEALTH EDUCATION RELATING TO SEX EDUCATION UPON SUBMITTING A WRITTEN REQUEST TO THE SCHOOL PRINCIPAL; TO AMEND SECTION 37-15-3, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT STUDENT AND PARENTAL RIGHTS TO EDUCATION RECORDS CREATED, MAINTAINED, OR USED BY PUBLIC EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS AND AGENCIES SHALL BE PROTECTED; TO STIPULATE THAT STUDENTS AND THEIR PARENTS MAINTAIN THE RIGHT TO ACCESS THE STUDENT'S EDUCATIONAL RECORDS, WAIVE ACCESS TO SUCH RECORDS, CHALLENGE THE CONTENT OF SUCH RECORDS, PRIVACY OF SUCH RECORDS AND TO RECEIVE ANNUAL NOTICE OF THE RIGHTS TO SUCH RECORDS; TO BRING FORWARD SECTIONS 37-7-301, 37-13-171 AND 43-21-105, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, FOR PURPOSES OF POSSIBLE AMENDMENTS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. This act shall be known and may be cited as the "Families' Rights and Responsibilities Act of 2023."
SECTION 2. As used in this act, the following terms shall have the meaning ascribed in this section unless context of usage requires otherwise:
(a) "Child" means an individual under the age of eighteen (18). The term does not include any child who has been adjudicated as a legally emancipated minor in accordance with state law by a court of competent jurisdiction.
(b) "Curriculum" includes all textbooks, reading materials, handouts, videos, presentations, digital materials, websites, online applications, digital applications for a phone, laptop or tablet, questionnaires, surveys, or other written or electronic materials that have been or will be assigned, distributed or otherwise presented physically or virtually to students in a class or course.
(c) "Educational records" includes attendance records, test scores of school-administered tests and state-wide assessments, grades, extracurricular activity or club participation, e-mail accounts, online or virtual accounts or data, disciplinary records, counseling records, psychological records, applications for admission, health and immunization information including any medical records maintained by a health clinic or medical facility operated or controlled by the school district or located on district property, teacher and counselor evaluations, and reports of behavioral patterns.
(d) "Parent" means a biological parent of a child, an adoptive parent of a child, or an individual who has been granted exclusive right, guardianship and authority over the welfare of a child under state law.
(e) "Substantial burden" means any action that directly or indirectly constrains, inhibits, curtails, or denies the right of a parent to direct the upbringing, education, health care and mental health of that parent's child, or compels any action contrary to the right of a parent to direct the upbringing, education, health care and mental health of that parent's child. The term includes, but is not limited to, withholding benefits, assessing criminal, civil or administrative penalties or damages, or exclusion from governmental assistance programs.
SECTION 3. Parental Rights are Fundamental.
(2) This state, any political subdivision of this state or any other governmental entity shall not substantially burden the fundamental right of a parent to direct the upbringing, education, health care and mental health of that parent's child without demonstrating that the burden is required by a compelling governmental interest of the highest order as applied to the parent and the child and is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.
SECTION 4. Rights and Responsibilities.
(1) All parental rights are exclusively reserved to a parent of a child without obstruction by or interference from this state, any political subdivision of this state, any other governmental entity or any other institution, including without limitation, the following rights and responsibilities:
(a) To direct the education of the child, including the right to choose public, private, religious or home schools, and the right to make reasonable choices within public schools for the education of the child;
(b) To access and review all written and electronic educational records relating to the child that are controlled by or in the possession of a school;
(c) To direct the upbringing of the child;
(d) To direct the moral or religious training of the child;
(e) To make and consent in writing to all physical and mental health care decisions for the child;
(f) To access and review all health and medical records of the child;
(g) To consent in writing before a biometric scan of the child is made, shared or stored;
(h) To consent in writing before any record of the child's blood or deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is created, stored or shared, unless authorized pursuant to a court order;
(i) To consent in writing before any governmental entity makes a video or voice recording of the child, unless the video or voice recording is made during or as a part of:
(i) A court proceeding;
(ii) A law enforcement investigation;
(iii) A forensic interview in a criminal or Department of Child Protection Services investigation;
(iv) The security or surveillance of buildings or grounds; or
(v) A photo identification card;
(j) To be notified promptly if an employee of this state, any political subdivision of this state, any other governmental entity or any other institution suspects that abuse, neglect or any criminal offense has been committed against the child;
(k) To opt the child out of any personal analysis, evaluation, survey or data collection by a school district that would capture data for inclusion in the state longitudinal student data system except what is necessary and essential to establish a student's educational record;
(l) The right to have the child excused from school attendance for religious purposes; and
(m) The right to participate in parent-teacher associations and school organizations that are sanctioned by the board of education of a school district.
(2) This section does not authorize or allow a parent to abuse or neglect a child as defined in Section 43-21-105. This section does not apply to a parental action or decision that would end life. This section does not prohibit a court from issuing an order that is otherwise permitted by law.
(3) No employee of this state, any political subdivision of this state, or any other governmental entity, except for law enforcement personnel, shall encourage or coerce a child to withhold information from the child's parent. Nor shall any such employee withhold from a child's parent information that is relevant to the physical, emotional or mental health of the child.
SECTION 5. Educational Involvement.
(1) The board of education of a school district, in consultation with parents, teachers and administrators, shall develop and adopt a policy to promote the involvement of parents of children enrolled in the schools within the school district, including:
(a) A plan for parent participation in the schools which is designed to improve parent and teacher cooperation in such areas as homework, attendance and discipline;
(b) Procedures by which a parent may learn about the course of study for that parent's child and review all curriculum. These procedures shall allow a parent to:
(i) Review a syllabus for each class or course that the parent's child is enrolled in at least seven (7) days before the start of each class or course. The syllabus shall include a written description of all topics and subjects taught in a class or course, and shall include a list of all curriculum used in the class or course, the identity of all individuals providing in-person or live remote instruction in the class or course, and a description of any assemblies, guest lectures, field trips or other educational activities that are part of the class or course;
(ii) Review all curriculum for each class or course offered by the school and any teacher training materials at least three (3) days before the curriculum or materials being taught or used for instruction is presented to students;
(iii) Copy and record information from the curriculum and teacher training materials; and
(iv) Meet with the teacher of the class or course, the principal, or other representative from the school to discuss the curriculum and teaching training materials.
(c) Procedures to notify a parent at least three (3) days in advance and obtain the parent's written consent before the parent's child attends any instruction or presentation that has the goal or purpose of studying, exploring or informing students about gender roles or stereotypes, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation or romantic or sexual relationships;
(d) Procedures by which a parent who objects to any specific instruction or presentation on the basis that it is harmful may withdraw that parent's child from the instruction or presentation. Objection to a specific instruction or presentation on the basis that it is harmful includes, but is not limited to, objection to a material or activity because it questions beliefs or practices regarding sex, morality or religion;
(e) Procedures by which a parent may learn about the nature and purpose of clubs and extracurricular activities that have been approved by the school and may withdraw that parent's child from any club or extracurricular to which the parent objects;
(f) Procedures by which a parent must provide written consent before their child uses a name or nickname other than their legal name, or before a child uses a pronoun that does not align with the child's sex. However, even if a parent provides written consent, no person shall be compelled to use pronouns that do not align with the child's sex; and
(g) Procedures by which a parent may learn about parental rights and responsibilities under the laws of this state.
(2) The board of education of a school district may adopt a policy to provide to parents the information required by this section in an electronic form.
(3) A parent shall submit a written or electronic request for information pursuant to this section to either the school principal or the superintendent of the school district. Within ten (10) days of receiving the request for information, the school principal or the superintendent shall either deliver the requested information to the parent or submit to the parent a written explanation of the reasons for the denial of the requested information. If the request for information is denied or the parent does not receive the requested information within fifteen (15) days after submitting the request for information, the parent may submit a written request for the information to the board of education of the school district, which shall formally consider the request at the next scheduled public meeting of the board if the request can be properly noticed on the agenda. If the request cannot be properly noticed on the agenda, the board of education shall formally consider the request at the next subsequent public meeting of the board.
SECTION 6. Medical and Mental Health Care.
(1) Except as otherwise provided by law or court order, a person, corporation, association, organization, state-supported institution or individual employed by any of these entities must obtain the consent of a parent of a child before taking any of the following actions:
(a) Procuring, soliciting to perform, arranging for the performance of, providing a referral for, or performing surgical procedures upon a child;
(b) Procuring, soliciting to perform, arranging for the performance of, providing a referral for, or performing a physical examination upon a child;
(c) Prescribing or dispensing any medication or prescription drugs to a child; or
(d) Procuring, soliciting to perform, arranging for the performance of, providing a referral for, or performing a mental health evaluation in a clinical or nonclinical setting, or mental health treatment on a child.
(2) If the parental consent pursuant to subsection (1) is given through telemedicine, the person or entity obtaining parental consent must verify the identity of the parent at the site where the consent is given.
(3) The provisions of this section shall not apply when it has been determined by a physician that:
(a) An emergency exists; and
(b) Either of the following conditions is true:
(i) It is necessary to perform an activity listed in subsection (1) in order to prevent death or imminent irreparable physical injury to the child; or
(ii) A parent of the child cannot be located or contacted after a reasonably diligent effort.
(4) The provisions of this section do not apply to an abortion, which shall be governed by Chapter 41, Title 41, Mississippi Code of 1972.
SECTION 7. Cause of Action.
(1) A parent may bring suit for any violation of this act and may raise the act as a defense in any judicial or administrative proceeding without regard to whether the proceeding is brought by or in the name of the state government, any private person or any other party.
(2) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an action under this act may be commenced, and relief may be granted, without regard to whether the person commencing the action has sought or exhausted available administrative remedies.
(3) Any person who successfully asserts a claim or defense under this act may recover declaratory relief, injunctive relief, compensatory damages, reasonable attorneys' fees and costs, and any other appropriate relief.
(4) Sovereign, governmental and qualified immunities to suit and from liability are waived and abolished to the extent of liability created by this act.
SECTION 8. Rules of Construction.
(1) Unless those rights have been legally waived or legally terminated, parents have inalienable rights that are more comprehensive than those listed in this section. The protections of the fundamental right of parents to direct the upbringing, education, health care and mental health of their child afforded by this act are in addition to the protections provided under federal law, state law, and the state and federal constitutions.
(2) This act shall be construed in favor of a broad protection of the fundamental right of parents to direct the upbringing, education, health care and mental health of their child.
(3) Nothing in this act shall be construed to authorize any government to burden the fundamental right of parents to direct the upbringing, education, health care and mental health of their child.
(4) If a child has no affirmative right of access to a particular medical or mental health procedure or service, then nothing in this act shall be construed to grant that child's parent an affirmative right of access to that procedure or service on that child's behalf.
(5) State statutory law adopted after the date of the enactment of this act is subject to this act unless such law explicitly excludes such application by reference to this act.
SECTION 9. Section 37-3-49, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-3-49. (1) The State Department of Education shall provide an instructional program and establish guidelines and procedures for managing such program in the public schools within the school districts throughout the state as part of the State Program of Educational Accountability and Assessment of Performance as prescribed in Section 37-3-46. Public school districts may (a) elect to adopt the instructional program and management system provided by the State Department of Education, or (b) elect to adopt an instructional program and management system which meets or exceeds criteria established by the State Department of Education for such. This provision shall begin with the courses taught in Grades K-8 which contain skills tested through the Mississippi Basic Skills Assessment Program and shall proceed through all secondary school courses mandated for graduation and all secondary school courses in the Mississippi end-of-course testing program. Other state core objectives must be included in the district's instructional program as they are provided by the State Department of Education along with instructional practices, resources, evaluation items and management procedures. Districts are encouraged to adapt this program and accompanying procedures to all other instructional areas. The department shall provide that such program and guidelines, or a program and guidelines developed by a local school district which incorporates the core objectives from the curriculum structure are enforced through the performance-based accreditation system. It is the intent of the Legislature that every effort be made to protect the instructional time in the classroom and reduce the amount of paperwork which must be completed by teachers. The State Department of Education shall take steps to insure that school districts properly use staff development time to work on the districts' instructional management plans.
(2) The State Department of Education shall provide such instructional program and management guidelines which shall require for every public school district that:
(a) All courses taught in Grades K-8 which contain skills which are tested through the Mississippi Basic Skills Assessment Program, all secondary school courses mandated for graduation, and all courses in the end-of-course testing program shall include the State Department of Education's written list of learning objectives.
(b) The local school board must adopt the objectives that will form the core curriculum which will be systematically delivered throughout the district.
(c) The set of objectives provided by the State Department of Education must be accompanied by suggested instructional practices and resources that would help teachers organize instruction so as to promote student learning of the objectives. Objectives added by the school district must also be accompanied by suggested instructional practices and resources that would help teachers organize instruction. The instructional practices and resources that are identified are to be used as suggestions and not as requirements that teachers must follow. The goal of the program is to have students to achieve the desired objective and not to limit teachers in the way they teach.
(d) Standards for student performance must be established for each core objective in the local program and those standards establish the district's definition of mastery for each objective.
(e) There shall be an annual review of student performance in the instructional program against locally established standards. When weaknesses exist in the local instructional program, the district shall take action to improve student performance.
(3) The parent of each public school student has the right to receive effective communication from the school principal as to the manner in which instructional materials are used to implement the school's curricular objectives, in accordance with the provisions of Section 5 of this act.
( * * *
4) The State Board of Education and
the board of trustees of each school district shall adopt policies to limit and
reduce the number and length of written reports that classroom teachers are
required to prepare.
( * * *
5) This section shall not be construed
to limit teachers from using their own professional skills to help students
master instructional objectives, nor shall it be construed as a call for more
detailed or complex lesson plans or any increase in testing at the local school
( * * *
6) Districts meeting the highest
levels of accreditation standards, as defined by the State Board of Education,
shall be exempted from the provisions of subsection (2) of this section.
SECTION 10. Section 37-13-173, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-13-173. (1) Each
school providing instruction or any other presentation on human sexuality in the
classroom, assembly or other official setting shall be required to provide no less
than * * *
three (3) days' written notice thereof to the parents of children in such
programs of instruction. The written notice must inform the parents of their right
to request the inclusion of their child for such instruction or presentation. The
notice also must inform the parents of the right, and the appropriate process, to
review the curriculum and all materials to be used in the lesson or presentation.
(2) Upon the written request of any parent or legal guardian to the school principal to exempt his or her child from the teaching of reproductive health or any disease, including HIV/AIDS, in accordance with the provisions of Section 37-13-171, the school shall excuse the parent's child from such instruction or presentation, without detriment to the student.
SECTION 11. Section 37-15-3, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-15-3. (1) * * *
The cumulative folders as are
provided for in Section 37-15-1 shall be kept in the school wherein the pupils
are in attendance. Both the permanent records and the cumulative folders shall
be available to school officials, including teachers within the school district
who have been determined by the school district to have legitimate educational
interests. In no case, however, shall such records be available to the general
(2) The rights of students and their parents or legal guardians with respect to education records created, maintained, or used by public educational institutions and agencies shall be protected. Transcripts of courses and grades may be furnished when requested by the parent or guardian or eligible pupil as prescribed in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, 20 USCS Section 1232g, the implementing regulations issued pursuant thereto, and this section, provided the following:
(a) Students and their parents shall have the right to access their education records, including the right to inspect and review those records;
(b) Students and their parents shall have the right to waive their access to their education records in certain circumstances;
(c) Students and their parents shall have the right to challenge the content of education records in order to ensure that the records are not inaccurate, misleading or otherwise a violation of privacy or other rights;
(d) Students and their parents shall have the right of privacy with respect to such records and reports; and
(e) Students and their parents shall receive annual notice of their rights with respect to education records.
(3) * * *
The records shall be kept for each
pupil throughout his entire public school enrollment period. In the event a
pupil transfers to a public school, including a charter school, then the
cumulative folder shall be furnished to the head of the school to which the
pupil transfers; if a pupil transfers to a private school, then a copy of the
cumulative folder shall be furnished to the head of the school to which the
pupil transfers. The permanent record shall be kept permanently by the school
district from which the pupil transferred.
(4) At no time may a
permanent record of a student be destroyed, but cumulative folders may be
destroyed by order of the school board of the school district in not less than
five (5) years after the permanent record of the pupil has become inactive and
has been transferred to the central depository of the district. * * *
However, * * * where a school district makes complete
copies of inactive permanent records on photographic film, microfilm * * * or any other acceptable form of medium for
storage which may be reproduced as needed, * * * those permanent records may be
destroyed after the photographic film or microfilm copy has been stored in the
central depository of the district.
SECTION 12. Section 37-7-301, Mississippi Code of 1972, is brought forward as follows:
37-7-301. The school boards of all school districts shall have the following powers, authority and duties in addition to all others imposed or granted by law, to wit:
(a) To organize and operate the schools of the district and to make such division between the high school grades and elementary grades as, in their judgment, will serve the best interests of the school;
(b) To introduce public school music, art, manual training and other special subjects into either the elementary or high school grades, as the board shall deem proper;
(c) To be the custodians of real and personal school property and to manage, control and care for same, both during the school term and during vacation;
(d) To have responsibility for the erection, repairing and equipping of school facilities and the making of necessary school improvements;
(e) To suspend or to expel a pupil or to change the placement of a pupil to the school district's alternative school or homebound program for misconduct in the school or on school property, as defined in Section 37-11-29, on the road to and from school, or at any school-related activity or event, or for conduct occurring on property other than school property or other than at a school-related activity or event when such conduct by a pupil, in the determination of the school superintendent or principal, renders that pupil's presence in the classroom a disruption to the educational environment of the school or a detriment to the best interest and welfare of the pupils and teacher of such class as a whole, and to delegate such authority to the appropriate officials of the school district;
(f) To visit schools in the district, in their discretion, in a body for the purpose of determining what can be done for the improvement of the school in a general way;
(g) To support, within reasonable limits, the superintendent, principal and teachers where necessary for the proper discipline of the school;
(h) To exclude from the schools students with what appears to be infectious or contagious diseases; provided, however, such student may be allowed to return to school upon presenting a certificate from a public health officer, duly licensed physician or nurse practitioner that the student is free from such disease;
(i) To require those vaccinations specified by the State Health Officer as provided in Section 41-23-37;
(j) To see that all necessary utilities and services are provided in the schools at all times when same are needed;
(k) To authorize the use of the school buildings and grounds for the holding of public meetings and gatherings of the people under such regulations as may be prescribed by said board;
(l) To prescribe and enforce rules and regulations not inconsistent with law or with the regulations of the State Board of Education for their own government and for the government of the schools, and to transact their business at regular and special meetings called and held in the manner provided by law;
(m) To maintain and operate all of the schools under their control for such length of time during the year as may be required;
(n) To enforce in the schools the courses of study and the use of the textbooks prescribed by the proper authorities;
(o) To make orders directed to the superintendent of schools for the issuance of pay certificates for lawful purposes on any available funds of the district and to have full control of the receipt, distribution, allotment and disbursement of all funds provided for the support and operation of the schools of such school district whether such funds be derived from state appropriations, local ad valorem tax collections, or otherwise. The local school board shall be authorized and empowered to promulgate rules and regulations that specify the types of claims and set limits of the dollar amount for payment of claims by the superintendent of schools to be ratified by the board at the next regularly scheduled meeting after payment has been made;
(p) To select all school district personnel in the manner provided by law, and to provide for such employee fringe benefit programs, including accident reimbursement plans, as may be deemed necessary and appropriate by the board;
(q) To provide athletic programs and other school activities and to regulate the establishment and operation of such programs and activities;
(r) To join, in their discretion, any association of school boards and other public school-related organizations, and to pay from local funds other than minimum foundation funds, any membership dues;
(s) To expend local school activity funds, or other available school district funds, other than minimum education program funds, for the purposes prescribed under this paragraph. "Activity funds" shall mean all funds received by school officials in all school districts paid or collected to participate in any school activity, such activity being part of the school program and partially financed with public funds or supplemented by public funds. The term "activity funds" shall not include any funds raised and/or expended by any organization unless commingled in a bank account with existing activity funds, regardless of whether the funds were raised by school employees or received by school employees during school hours or using school facilities, and regardless of whether a school employee exercises influence over the expenditure or disposition of such funds. Organizations shall not be required to make any payment to any school for the use of any school facility if, in the discretion of the local school governing board, the organization's function shall be deemed to be beneficial to the official or extracurricular programs of the school. For the purposes of this provision, the term "organization" shall not include any organization subject to the control of the local school governing board. Activity funds may only be expended for any necessary expenses or travel costs, including advances, incurred by students and their chaperons in attending any in-state or out-of-state school-related programs, conventions or seminars and/or any commodities, equipment, travel expenses, purchased services or school supplies which the local school governing board, in its discretion, shall deem beneficial to the official or extracurricular programs of the district, including items which may subsequently become the personal property of individuals, including yearbooks, athletic apparel, book covers and trophies. Activity funds may be used to pay travel expenses of school district personnel. The local school governing board shall be authorized and empowered to promulgate rules and regulations specifically designating for what purposes school activity funds may be expended. The local school governing board shall provide (i) that such school activity funds shall be maintained and expended by the principal of the school generating the funds in individual bank accounts, or (ii) that such school activity funds shall be maintained and expended by the superintendent of schools in a central depository approved by the board. The local school governing board shall provide that such school activity funds be audited as part of the annual audit required in Section 37-9-18. The State Department of Education shall prescribe a uniform system of accounting and financial reporting for all school activity fund transactions;
(t) To enter into an energy performance contract, energy services contract, on a shared-savings, lease or lease-purchase basis, for energy efficiency services and/or equipment as provided for in Section 31-7-14;
(u) To maintain accounts and issue pay certificates on school food service bank accounts;
(v) (i) To lease a school building from an individual, partnership, nonprofit corporation or a private for-profit corporation for the use of such school district, and to expend funds therefor as may be available from any nonminimum program sources. The school board of the school district desiring to lease a school building shall declare by resolution that a need exists for a school building and that the school district cannot provide the necessary funds to pay the cost or its proportionate share of the cost of a school building required to meet the present needs. The resolution so adopted by the school board shall be published once each week for three (3) consecutive weeks in a newspaper having a general circulation in the school district involved, with the first publication thereof to be made not less than thirty (30) days prior to the date upon which the school board is to act on the question of leasing a school building. If no petition requesting an election is filed prior to such meeting as hereinafter provided, then the school board may, by resolution spread upon its minutes, proceed to lease a school building. If at any time prior to said meeting a petition signed by not less than twenty percent (20%) or fifteen hundred (1500), whichever is less, of the qualified electors of the school district involved shall be filed with the school board requesting that an election be called on the question, then the school board shall, not later than the next regular meeting, adopt a resolution calling an election to be held within such school district upon the question of authorizing the school board to lease a school building. Such election shall be called and held, and notice thereof shall be given, in the same manner for elections upon the questions of the issuance of the bonds of school districts, and the results thereof shall be certified to the school board. If at least three-fifths (3/5) of the qualified electors of the school district who voted in such election shall vote in favor of the leasing of a school building, then the school board shall proceed to lease a school building. The term of the lease contract shall not exceed twenty (20) years, and the total cost of such lease shall be either the amount of the lowest and best bid accepted by the school board after advertisement for bids or an amount not to exceed the current fair market value of the lease as determined by the averaging of at least two (2) appraisals by certified general appraisers licensed by the State of Mississippi. The term "school building" as used in this paragraph (v)(i) shall be construed to mean any building or buildings used for classroom purposes in connection with the operation of schools and shall include the site therefor, necessary support facilities, and the equipment thereof and appurtenances thereto such as heating facilities, water supply, sewage disposal, landscaping, walks, drives and playgrounds. The term "lease" as used in this paragraph (v)(i) may include a lease-purchase contract;
(ii) If two (2) or more school districts propose to enter into a lease contract jointly, then joint meetings of the school boards having control may be held but no action taken shall be binding on any such school district unless the question of leasing a school building is approved in each participating school district under the procedure hereinabove set forth in paragraph (v)(i). All of the provisions of paragraph (v)(i) regarding the term and amount of the lease contract shall apply to the school boards of school districts acting jointly. Any lease contract executed by two (2) or more school districts as joint lessees shall set out the amount of the aggregate lease rental to be paid by each, which may be agreed upon, but there shall be no right of occupancy by any lessee unless the aggregate rental is paid as stipulated in the lease contract. All rights of joint lessees under the lease contract shall be in proportion to the amount of lease rental paid by each;
(w) To employ all noninstructional and noncertificated employees and fix the duties and compensation of such personnel deemed necessary pursuant to the recommendation of the superintendent of schools;
(x) To employ and fix the duties and compensation of such legal counsel as deemed necessary;
(y) Subject to rules and regulations of the State Board of Education, to purchase, own and operate trucks, vans and other motor vehicles, which shall bear the proper identification required by law;
(z) To expend funds for the payment of substitute teachers and to adopt reasonable regulations for the employment and compensation of such substitute teachers;
(aa) To acquire in its own name by purchase all real property which shall be necessary and desirable in connection with the construction, renovation or improvement of any public school building or structure. Whenever the purchase price for such real property is greater than Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000.00), the school board shall not purchase the property for an amount exceeding the fair market value of such property as determined by the average of at least two (2) independent appraisals by certified general appraisers licensed by the State of Mississippi. If the board shall be unable to agree with the owner of any such real property in connection with any such project, the board shall have the power and authority to acquire any such real property by condemnation proceedings pursuant to Section 11-27-1 et seq., Mississippi Code of 1972, and for such purpose, the right of eminent domain is hereby conferred upon and vested in said board. Provided further, that the local school board is authorized to grant an easement for ingress and egress over sixteenth section land or lieu land in exchange for a similar easement upon adjoining land where the exchange of easements affords substantial benefit to the sixteenth section land; provided, however, the exchange must be based upon values as determined by a competent appraiser, with any differential in value to be adjusted by cash payment. Any easement rights granted over sixteenth section land under such authority shall terminate when the easement ceases to be used for its stated purpose. No sixteenth section or lieu land which is subject to an existing lease shall be burdened by any such easement except by consent of the lessee or unless the school district shall acquire the unexpired leasehold interest affected by the easement;
(bb) To charge reasonable fees related to the educational programs of the district, in the manner prescribed in Section 37-7-335;
(cc) Subject to rules and regulations of the State Board of Education, to purchase relocatable classrooms for the use of such school district, in the manner prescribed in Section 37-1-13;
(dd) Enter into contracts or agreements with other school districts, political subdivisions or governmental entities to carry out one or more of the powers or duties of the school board, or to allow more efficient utilization of limited resources for providing services to the public;
(ee) To provide for in-service training for employees of the district;
(ff) As part of their duties to prescribe the use of textbooks, to provide that parents and legal guardians shall be responsible for the textbooks and for the compensation to the school district for any books which are not returned to the proper schools upon the withdrawal of their dependent child. If a textbook is lost or not returned by any student who drops out of the public school district, the parent or legal guardian shall also compensate the school district for the fair market value of the textbooks;
(gg) To conduct fund-raising activities on behalf of the school district that the local school board, in its discretion, deems appropriate or beneficial to the official or extracurricular programs of the district; provided that:
(i) Any proceeds of the fund-raising activities shall be treated as "activity funds" and shall be accounted for as are other activity funds under this section; and
(ii) Fund-raising activities conducted or authorized by the board for the sale of school pictures, the rental of caps and gowns or the sale of graduation invitations for which the school board receives a commission, rebate or fee shall contain a disclosure statement advising that a portion of the proceeds of the sales or rentals shall be contributed to the student activity fund;
(hh) To allow individual lessons for music, art and other curriculum-related activities for academic credit or nonacademic credit during school hours and using school equipment and facilities, subject to uniform rules and regulations adopted by the school board;
(ii) To charge reasonable fees for participating in an extracurricular activity for academic or nonacademic credit for necessary and required equipment such as safety equipment, band instruments and uniforms;
(jj) To conduct or participate in any fund-raising activities on behalf of or in connection with a tax-exempt charitable organization;
(kk) To exercise such powers as may be reasonably necessary to carry out the provisions of this section;
(ll) To expend funds for the services of nonprofit arts organizations or other such nonprofit organizations who provide performances or other services for the students of the school district;
(mm) To expend federal No Child Left Behind Act funds, or any other available funds that are expressly designated and authorized for that use, to pay training, educational expenses, salary incentives and salary supplements to employees of local school districts; except that incentives shall not be considered part of the local supplement as defined in Section 37-151-5(o), nor shall incentives be considered part of the local supplement paid to an individual teacher for the purposes of Section 37-19-7(1). Mississippi Adequate Education Program funds or any other state funds may not be used for salary incentives or salary supplements as provided in this paragraph (mm);
(nn) To use any available funds, not appropriated or designated for any other purpose, for reimbursement to the state-licensed employees from both in state and out of state, who enter into a contract for employment in a school district, for the expense of moving when the employment necessitates the relocation of the licensed employee to a different geographical area than that in which the licensed employee resides before entering into the contract. The reimbursement shall not exceed One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) for the documented actual expenses incurred in the course of relocating, including the expense of any professional moving company or persons employed to assist with the move, rented moving vehicles or equipment, mileage in the amount authorized for county and municipal employees under Section 25-3-41 if the licensed employee used his personal vehicle or vehicles for the move, meals and such other expenses associated with the relocation. No licensed employee may be reimbursed for moving expenses under this section on more than one (1) occasion by the same school district. Nothing in this section shall be construed to require the actual residence to which the licensed employee relocates to be within the boundaries of the school district that has executed a contract for employment in order for the licensed employee to be eligible for reimbursement for the moving expenses. However, the licensed employee must relocate within the boundaries of the State of Mississippi. Any individual receiving relocation assistance through the Critical Teacher Shortage Act as provided in Section 37-159-5 shall not be eligible to receive additional relocation funds as authorized in this paragraph;
(oo) To use any available funds, not appropriated or designated for any other purpose, to reimburse persons who interview for employment as a licensed employee with the district for the mileage and other actual expenses incurred in the course of travel to and from the interview at the rate authorized for county and municipal employees under Section 25-3-41;
(pp) Consistent with the report of the Task Force to Conduct a Best Financial Management Practices Review, to improve school district management and use of resources and identify cost savings as established in Section 8 of Chapter 610, Laws of 2002, local school boards are encouraged to conduct independent reviews of the management and efficiency of schools and school districts. Such management and efficiency reviews shall provide state and local officials and the public with the following:
(i) An assessment of a school district's governance and organizational structure;
(ii) An assessment of the school district's financial and personnel management;
(iii) An assessment of revenue levels and sources;
(iv) An assessment of facilities utilization, planning and maintenance;
(v) An assessment of food services, transportation and safety/security systems;
(vi) An assessment of instructional and administrative technology;
(vii) A review of the instructional management and the efficiency and effectiveness of existing instructional programs; and
(viii) Recommended methods for increasing efficiency and effectiveness in providing educational services to the public;
(qq) To enter into agreements with other local school boards for the establishment of an educational service agency (ESA) to provide for the cooperative needs of the region in which the school district is located, as provided in Section 37-7-345;
(rr) To implement a financial literacy program for students in Grades 10 and 11. The board may review the national programs and obtain free literature from various nationally recognized programs. After review of the different programs, the board may certify a program that is most appropriate for the school districts' needs. If a district implements a financial literacy program, then any student in Grade 10 or 11 may participate in the program. The financial literacy program shall include, but is not limited to, instruction in the same areas of personal business and finance as required under Section 37-1-3(2)(b). The school board may coordinate with volunteer teachers from local community organizations, including, but not limited to, the following: United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development, United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, Junior Achievement, bankers and other nonprofit organizations. Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed as to require school boards to implement a financial literacy program;
(ss) To collaborate with the State Board of Education, Community Action Agencies or the Department of Human Services to develop and implement a voluntary program to provide services for a prekindergarten program that addresses the cognitive, social, and emotional needs of four-year-old and three-year-old children. The school board may utilize any source of available revenue to fund the voluntary program. Effective with the 2013-2014 school year, to implement voluntary prekindergarten programs under the Early Learning Collaborative Act of 2013 pursuant to state funds awarded by the State Department of Education on a matching basis;
(tt) With respect to any lawful, written obligation of a school district, including, but not limited to, leases (excluding leases of sixteenth section public school trust land), bonds, notes, or other agreement, to agree in writing with the obligee that the Department of Revenue or any state agency, department or commission created under state law may:
(i) Withhold all or any part (as agreed by the school board) of any monies which such local school board is entitled to receive from time to time under any law and which is in the possession of the Department of Revenue, or any state agency, department or commission created under state law; and
(ii) Pay the same over to any financial institution, trustee or other obligee, as directed in writing by the school board, to satisfy all or part of such obligation of the school district.
The school board may make such written agreement to withhold and transfer funds irrevocable for the term of the written obligation and may include in the written agreement any other terms and provisions acceptable to the school board. If the school board files a copy of such written agreement with the Department of Revenue, or any state agency, department or commission created under state law then the Department of Revenue or any state agency, department or commission created under state law shall immediately make the withholdings provided in such agreement from the amounts due the local school board and shall continue to pay the same over to such financial institution, trustee or obligee for the term of the agreement.
This paragraph (tt) shall not grant any extra authority to a school board to issue debt in any amount exceeding statutory limitations on assessed value of taxable property within such school district or the statutory limitations on debt maturities, and shall not grant any extra authority to impose, levy or collect a tax which is not otherwise expressly provided for, and shall not be construed to apply to sixteenth section public school trust land;
(uu) With respect to any matter or transaction that is competitively bid by a school district, to accept from any bidder as a good-faith deposit or bid bond or bid surety, the same type of good-faith deposit or bid bond or bid surety that may be accepted by the state or any other political subdivision on similar competitively bid matters or transactions. This paragraph (uu) shall not be construed to apply to sixteenth section public school trust land. The school board may authorize the investment of any school district funds in the same kind and manner of investments, including pooled investments, as any other political subdivision, including community hospitals;
(vv) To utilize the alternate method for the conveyance or exchange of unused school buildings and/or land, reserving a partial or other undivided interest in the property, as specifically authorized and provided in Section 37-7-485;
(ww) To delegate, privatize or otherwise enter into a contract with private entities for the operation of any and all functions of nonacademic school process, procedures and operations including, but not limited to, cafeteria workers, janitorial services, transportation, professional development, achievement and instructional consulting services materials and products, purchasing cooperatives, insurance, business manager services, auditing and accounting services, school safety/risk prevention, data processing and student records, and other staff services; however, the authority under this paragraph does not apply to the leasing, management or operation of sixteenth section lands. Local school districts, working through their regional education service agency, are encouraged to enter into buying consortia with other member districts for the purposes of more efficient use of state resources as described in Section 37-7-345;
(xx) To partner with entities, organizations and corporations for the purpose of benefiting the school district;
(yy) To borrow funds from the Rural Economic Development Authority for the maintenance of school buildings;
(zz) To fund and operate voluntary early childhood education programs, defined as programs for children less than five (5) years of age on or before September 1, and to use any source of revenue for such early childhood education programs. Such programs shall not conflict with the Early Learning Collaborative Act of 2013;
(aaa) To issue and provide for the use of procurement cards by school board members, superintendents and licensed school personnel consistent with the rules and regulations of the Mississippi Department of Finance and Administration under Section 31-7-9; and
(bbb) To conduct an annual comprehensive evaluation of the superintendent of schools consistent with the assessment components of paragraph (pp) of this section and the assessment benchmarks established by the Mississippi School Board Association to evaluate the success the superintendent has attained in meeting district goals and objectives, the superintendent's leadership skill and whether or not the superintendent has established appropriate standards for performance, is monitoring success and is using data for improvement.
SECTION 13. Section 37-13-171, Mississippi Code of 1972, is brought forward as follows:
37-13-171. (1) The local school board of every public school district shall adopt a policy to implement abstinence-only or abstinence-plus education into its curriculum by June 30, 2012, which instruction in those subjects shall be implemented not later than the start of the 2012-2013 school year or the local school board shall adopt the program which has been developed by the Mississippi Department of Human Services and the Mississippi Department of Health. The State Department of Education shall approve each district's curriculum for sex-related education and shall establish a protocol to be used by districts to provide continuity in teaching the approved curriculum in a manner that is age, grade and developmentally appropriate.
(2) Abstinence-only education shall remain the state standard for any sex-related education taught in the public schools. For purposes of this section, abstinence-only education includes any type of instruction or program which, at an appropriate age and grade:
(a) Teaches the social, psychological and health gains to be realized by abstaining from sexual activity, and the likely negative psychological and physical effects of not abstaining;
(b) Teaches the harmful consequences to the child, the child's parents and society that bearing children out of wedlock is likely to produce, including the health, educational, financial and other difficulties the child and his or her parents are likely to face, as well as the inappropriateness of the social and economic burden placed on others;
(c) Teaches that unwanted sexual advances are irresponsible and teaches how to reject sexual advances and how alcohol and drug use increases vulnerability to sexual advances;
(d) Teaches that abstinence from sexual activity before marriage, and fidelity within marriage, is the only certain way to avoid out-of-wedlock pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and related health problems. The instruction or program may include a discussion on condoms or contraceptives, but only if that discussion includes a factual presentation of the risks and failure rates of those contraceptives. In no case shall the instruction or program include any demonstration of how condoms or other contraceptives are applied;
(e) Teaches the current state law related to sexual conduct, including forcible rape, statutory rape, paternity establishment, child support and homosexual activity; and
(f) Teaches that a mutually faithful, monogamous relationship in the context of marriage is the only appropriate setting for sexual intercourse.
(3) A program or instruction on sex-related education need not include every component listed in subsection (2) of this section for abstinence-only education. However, no program or instruction under an abstinence-only curriculum may include anything that contradicts the excluded components. For purposes of this section, abstinence-plus education includes every component listed under subsection (2) of this section that is age and grade appropriate, in addition to any other programmatic or instructional component approved by the department, which shall not include instruction and demonstrations on the application and use of condoms. Abstinence-plus education may discuss other contraceptives, the nature, causes and effects of sexually transmitted diseases, or the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, along with a factual presentation of the risks and failure rates.
(4) Any course containing sex-related education offered in the public schools shall include instruction in either abstinence-only or abstinence-plus education.
(5) Local school districts, in their discretion, may host programs designed to teach parents how to discuss abstinence with their children.
(6) There shall be no effort in either an abstinence-only or an abstinence-plus curriculum to teach that abortion can be used to prevent the birth of a baby.
(7) At all times when sex-related education is discussed or taught, boys and girls shall be separated according to gender into different classrooms, sex-related education instruction may not be conducted when boys and girls are in the company of any students of the opposite gender.
(8) This section shall stand repealed on July 1, 2024.
SECTION 14. Section 43-21-105, Mississippi Code of 1972, is brought forward as follows:
43-21-105. The following words and phrases, for purposes of this chapter, shall have the meanings ascribed herein unless the context clearly otherwise requires:
(a) "Youth court" means the Youth Court Division.
(b) "Judge" means the judge of the Youth Court Division.
(c) "Designee" means any person that the judge appoints to perform a duty which this chapter requires to be done by the judge or his designee. The judge may not appoint a person who is involved in law enforcement or who is an employee of the Mississippi Department of Human Services or the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services to be his designee.
(d) "Child" and "youth" are synonymous, and each means a person who has not reached his eighteenth birthday. A child who has not reached his eighteenth birthday and is on active duty for a branch of the armed services or is married is not considered a "child" or "youth" for the purposes of this chapter.
(e) "Parent" means the father or mother to whom the child has been born, or the father or mother by whom the child has been legally adopted.
(f) "Guardian" means a court-appointed guardian of the person of a child.
(g) "Custodian" means any person having the present care or custody of a child whether such person be a parent or otherwise.
(h) "Legal custodian" means a court-appointed custodian of the child.
(i) "Delinquent child" means a child who has reached his tenth birthday and who has committed a delinquent act.
(j) "Delinquent act" is any act, which if committed by an adult, is designated as a crime under state or federal law, or municipal or county ordinance other than offenses punishable by life imprisonment or death. A delinquent act includes escape from lawful detention and violations of the Uniform Controlled Substances Law and violent behavior.
(k) "Child in need of supervision" means a child who has reached his seventh birthday and is in need of treatment or rehabilitation because the child:
(i) Is habitually disobedient of reasonable and lawful commands of his parent, guardian or custodian and is ungovernable; or
(ii) While being required to attend school, willfully and habitually violates the rules thereof or willfully and habitually absents himself therefrom; or
(iii) Runs away from home without good cause; or
(iv) Has committed a delinquent act or acts.
(l) "Neglected child" means a child:
(i) Whose parent, guardian or custodian or any person responsible for his care or support, neglects or refuses, when able so to do, to provide for him proper and necessary care or support, or education as required by law, or medical, surgical, or other care necessary for his well-being; however, a parent who withholds medical treatment from any child who in good faith is under treatment by spiritual means alone through prayer in accordance with the tenets and practices of a recognized church or religious denomination by a duly accredited practitioner thereof shall not, for that reason alone, be considered to be neglectful under any provision of this chapter; or
(ii) Who is otherwise without proper care, custody, supervision or support; or
(iii) Who, for any reason, lacks the special care made necessary for him by reason of his mental condition, whether the mental condition is having mental illness or having an intellectual disability; or
(iv) Who, for any reason, lacks the care necessary for his health, morals or well-being.
(m) "Abused child" means a child whose parent, guardian or custodian or any person responsible for his care or support, whether legally obligated to do so or not, has caused or allowed to be caused, upon the child, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, commercial sexual exploitation, emotional abuse, mental injury, nonaccidental physical injury or other maltreatment. However, physical discipline, including spanking, performed on a child by a parent, guardian or custodian in a reasonable manner shall not be deemed abuse under this section. "Abused child" also means a child who is or has been trafficked within the meaning of the Mississippi Human Trafficking Act by any person, without regard to the relationship of the person to the child.
(n) "Sexual abuse" means obscene or pornographic photographing, filming or depiction of children for commercial purposes, or the rape, molestation, incest, prostitution or other such forms of sexual exploitation of children under circumstances which indicate that the child's health or welfare is harmed or threatened.
(o) "A child in need of special care" means a child with any mental or physical illness that cannot be treated with the dispositional alternatives ordinarily available to the youth court.
(p) A "dependent child" means any child who is not a child in need of supervision, a delinquent child, an abused child or a neglected child, and which child has been voluntarily placed in the custody of the Department of Child Protection Services by his parent, guardian or custodian.
(q) "Custody" means the physical possession of the child by any person.
(r) "Legal custody" means the legal status created by a court order which gives the legal custodian the responsibilities of physical possession of the child and the duty to provide him with food, shelter, education and reasonable medical care, all subject to residual rights and responsibilities of the parent or guardian of the person.
(s) "Detention" means the care of children in physically restrictive facilities.
(t) "Shelter" means care of children in physically nonrestrictive facilities.
(u) "Records involving children" means any of the following from which the child can be identified:
(i) All youth court records as defined in Section 43-21-251;
(ii) All forensic interviews conducted by a child advocacy center in abuse and neglect investigations;
(iii) All law enforcement records as defined in Section 43-21-255;
(iv) All agency records as defined in Section 43-21-257; and
(v) All other documents maintained by any representative of the state, county, municipality or other public agency insofar as they relate to the apprehension, custody, adjudication or disposition of a child who is the subject of a youth court cause.
(v) "Any person responsible for care or support" means the person who is providing for the child at a given time. This term shall include, but is not limited to, stepparents, foster parents, relatives, nonlicensed babysitters or other similar persons responsible for a child and staff of residential care facilities and group homes that are licensed by the Department of Human Services or the Department of Child Protection Services.
(w) The singular includes the plural, the plural the singular and the masculine the feminine when consistent with the intent of this chapter.
(x) "Out-of-home" setting means the temporary supervision or care of children by the staff of licensed day care centers, the staff of public, private and state schools, the staff of juvenile detention facilities, the staff of unlicensed residential care facilities and group homes and the staff of, or individuals representing, churches, civic or social organizations.
(y) "Durable legal custody" means the legal status created by a court order which gives the durable legal custodian the responsibilities of physical possession of the child and the duty to provide him with care, nurture, welfare, food, shelter, education and reasonable medical care. All these duties as enumerated are subject to the residual rights and responsibilities of the natural parent(s) or guardian(s) of the child or children.
(z) "Status offense" means conduct subject to adjudication by the youth court that would not be a crime if committed by an adult.
(aa) "Financially able" means a parent or child who is ineligible for a court-appointed attorney.
(bb) "Assessment" means an individualized examination of a child to determine the child's psychosocial needs and problems, including the type and extent of any mental health, substance abuse or co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders and recommendations for treatment. The term includes, but is not limited to, a drug and alcohol, psychological or psychiatric evaluation, records review, clinical interview or the administration of a formal test and instrument.
(cc) "Screening" means a process, with or without the administration of a formal instrument, that is designed to identify a child who is at increased risk of having mental health, substance abuse or co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders that warrant immediate attention, intervention or more comprehensive assessment.
(dd) "Durable legal relative guardianship" means the legal status created by a youth court order that conveys the physical and legal custody of a child or children by durable legal guardianship to a relative or fictive kin who is licensed as a foster or resource parent.
(ee) "Relative" means a person related to the child by affinity or consanguinity within the third degree.
(ff) "Fictive kin" means a person not related to the child legally or biologically but who is considered a relative due to a significant, familial-like and ongoing relationship with the child and family.
(gg) "Reasonable efforts" means the exercise of reasonable care and due diligence by the Department of Human Services, the Department of Child Protection Services, or any other appropriate entity or person to use appropriate and available services to prevent the unnecessary removal of the child from the home or provide other services related to meeting the needs of the child and the parents.
(hh) "Commercial sexual exploitation" means any sexual act or crime of a sexual nature, which is committed against a child for financial or economic gain, to obtain a thing of value for quid pro quo exchange of property or for any other purpose.
SECTION 15. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2023.