Parental Rights in Tennessee

Tennessee Parental Rights News

Good News, Tennessee!

August 17, 2020

The Tennessee Department of Education issued a letter this weekend completely withdrawing child wellbeing guidance that last week caused a tremendous outcry due to parental rights and family privacy concerns. That letter, addressed to the Tennessee legislature and forwarded to us by one of our friends there, is attached here. Last week’s policy guidance, created…

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Tennessee State Law and Parental Rights

Not Explicitly Defined and Protected

Tennessee does not have a state statute that explicitly defines and protects parental rights as fundamental rights.

Tennessee does have numerous laws on the books that provide support to parental rights.

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Tennessee Courts and Parental Rights


Tennessee courts have repeatedly recognized the liberty of parents to oversee the care of their children as a fundamental right. However, this precedent is subject to change.

In re Angela E., 303 S.W.3d 240 (Tenn. 2010), the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled that the Tennessee Constitution [Art. 1, § 8] gives parents a right of privacy to care for their children without unwarranted state intervention unless there is a substantial danger of harm to the child.