Restricting Parental Access to the Classroom

In April, 2002, Minnesota parents concerned about curriculum content in a freshman class at Big Lake High School were invited to sit in on the class and see the content for themselves. That is, until principal Darrel Easterly found out. Suddenly, the morning of their scheduled visits, several moms learned that they had been banned from the school due to “privacy laws.” Mary Stultz, one of the moms, was stunned. “I was in total shock and spent the morning talking to a lawyer,” Stultz told writer Laura Adelmann at the time.

Another mom called Big Lake Superintendent Bob Lageson, who assured her it “should never happen again.” Yet, within weeks, the local school board was meeting to discuss adopting a policy requiring parents to make an appointment three days in advance of a visit, and granting to the principal wide discretion to prevent parents from entering the building even then.

After an unprecedented public outcry, the school board softened the three day requirement for parents of students to merely “as much advance notice as possible” – but they passed the new restriction. They even granted to the principal authority to detain unauthorized visitors until law enforcement arrives, citing criminal trespass laws.

Today, the current student handbook (pp.7-8) declares that “Big Lake High School does not allow students to bring guests or visitors to classes,” which includes parents. Even more importantly, the events that unfolded in Big Lake have played out numerous other times as well, throughout the country. And the courts have consistently upheld such decisions.

I don’t know if Xenia City Schools have in place such a policy; if their is, parents do have a potential remedy.

A proposed Parental Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution can halt the erosion of parental rights nation-wide, and restore to parents the right to visit their child and see what is being taught. This will not allow individual parents to shape curriculum for an entire school, but it will allow any parent to remain informed of classroom content, and hopefully to opt their child out of material they find offensive.

To learn more about the Parental Rights Amendment, go to ParentalRights.org.

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