Grandparents have plenty of reponsibilities, but from one State
to the next, I have heard stories that grandparents have no rights -
and in any case, not enough rights to go along with their
responsibilities, both morally and financially.
The way of denying people authority, or granting authority
and responsibilities without rights is the way of tyranny
and destitution. Grandparents should not be subjected to either.
Accordingly, I am proposing to the American people that
Congress enact a Grandparents' Bill of Rights. It may
not be in the exact form I have set forth here, because
as legislation proceeds from Committee to the general
chamber, and from one legislative house to the next and
then to the President for his signature, compromises and
amendments come into play, and people develop
reservations or reworded versions better suited to
conditions of law and rules of procedure; and someone
else might think of adding a good idea or making an
already existing part of this better. Here is what I propose
as the Grandparents' Bill of Rights:
March 13-16 2013
WHEREAS certain State-related matters have
given rise to questions of mishandling of child
care and invasion of the rights of individuals
and families to the detriment of children,
I hereby author
The Grandparents' Bill of Rights:
(The words "they", "their", etc. refer to
grandparents entitled to these rights)
1) The right to be consulted and to be given the first option
of custody of their grandchildren; in this order of succession:
maternal grandchildren first, and grandmothers first in
case of any divide between grandparent couples. This
first option will come before and prior to any option by the
State to take custody of any child, and all grandparents
must be given the opportunity to claim that custody in
lawful order; or to waive it in favor of the State. The
State shall not be permitted to take custody of any
grandchild, prior to consulting with all able-bodied
or capable grandparents of the child(ren) involved
in any such consideration.
2) The right to legal recourse against being arbitrarily
shut out of the lives of their grandchildren, by the
State, by the school, or by a parent of one or more
of their grandchildren who is a convicted and confessed
felon; or by another grandparent who is also a convicted
and confessed felon.
3) The right to legal recourse against being arbitrarily
shut out of the lives of their grandchildren by anyone operating
from a financially motivated or unsavory motive; including
the right to grieve or the right to provide legal counsel to
grandchildren whenever reasonable in a family context.
4) The right to act as a legal guardian in certain defined
ways; or to act as a medical caretaker in certain defined
ways; or to sign as next of kin in certain emergency
contexts. This right should be recognized as inherent
to grandparenting, whenever the parents cannot consent
or in some cases jointly with the parents' consent.
5) The right to be awarded grandparental custody and
authority concomitant with such responsibility, in the
event of the temporary or long-term legal jeopardizing
of parental rights to custody and/or responsibility
6) The right to educate their grandchildren, and to have the
same educational rights and authority as any parent or as
any teacher acting "in loco parentis"; if and when the
grandparent exercising such responsibility actually
arranges for and pays for such educational tangibles.
7) The right to further the education of their children who
have had (or may in the future have) their own children;
including the conjugal or "in-law" parents of their own
grandchildren; for the short-term and/or long-term
benefit of their grandchildren.
8) The right to authoritative temporary sole custody or
shared custody under certain circumstances to be defined
by the legislature or Congress; or if not, then by court
order; and the right to concomitant legal recognition and
respectful de jure status of that custodial authority.
9) Al the rights and full public esteem and reputability which
may be understood by a reasonable person or by legislative
definition to be conditional or necessary to the full exercise of
any and all responsibilities mandated or approved by the
State or by their grandchild's parents.
10) The right to act as an honest character witness in any proceeding
or event involving their grandchildren, or any of their children who have
had or may in the future have children of their own; and to
provide such character witness in any way which directly or
indirectly benefits all grandchildren they have had or may
in the future have.
11) The right to offer moral or religious life-saving instructions,
or life-saving instruction of any kind; to their grandchildren;
and to do so without being second-guessed or pre-empted
by anyone else or by the State.
12) The right to provide refuge to any grandchild; emotionally
or residentially or materially: upon request of the grandchild,
or in any situation where there is definable clear and present
danger. This may include networking with grandparents of
good moral character and true reputation who are non-relatives,
in certain emergency situations, as long as certain conditions
are met and approved by the State according to law.
13) The right to provide or arrange for lawful sanctuary
to their grandchildren, in the context of protection
in situations of child-labor law
violations or predicaments.
14) The right to return custody of their own grandchildren
to the parent or parents of their grandchildren, at such time
as the grandparent sees fit, unless there is an actual clear
and present danger proven by the State which argues against
such a course of action based not primarily on speculation
but on reality; and if and when the State argues against such
a return to the grandchild's parents in any event, the grandparent
should have the right to retain custody and to revert custody
unto themselves solely, until such time as the State agrees to
such a return as envisaged by the custodial grandparent.
15) The right to intercede as lawfully authorized next-of-kin
to prevent placement of their grandchildren in any orphanage-
like or adoption-related custodial setting, and to do the same
with respect to hospital or medically related visits, translations,
pharmaceutically related matters or first-aid related matters.
16) The right to be informed, in writing, of grandparents' rights
upon becoming a grandparent, via prominently placed placards
at maternity wards, and via printouts of grandparents' rights
made available upon request in every US State and Territory.
This Bill of Rights should be distributed to all grandparents
in the United States, in plain English; or in the language of
alternate preference of any grandparent, as soon as
17) The right to take legal action as a secondary
guardian, against conflicts of interest
judicially or otherwise, regarding the rights
of their grandchildren.
18) The right to recognized status as
secondary guardians, in certain petitioned
and implied instances.
March 16, 2013, 11:15 AM EDT
Edgmont, PA 19028-0877