Abandoned to the State?

In 2006, parent David Parker insisted he would not leave his son’s elementary school until someone spoke to him about opting his kindergarten son out of offensive sexual material. Parker was arrested for trespassing and spent the night in jail. Further, the school refused to excuse his son from the class. The case of Parker v. Hurley ensued.

The United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts in that case held that “Parents do have a fundamental right to raise their children. They are not required to abandon that responsibility to the state. [They] may send their children to a private school…. They may also educate their children at home.” In other words, the court outlined three options for parents: send your child to private school, teach them at home, or “abandon [your] responsibility to the state.”

The court further held that allowing students to opt out of offensive materials “might also undermine the [school’s] efforts to educate the remaining other students to understand” the subject being taught.

In 2008, the Supreme Court refused to grant review to this case, leaving the District Court’s decision to stand as precedent nationwide. Parents who believe they have a right to opt a child out of offensive material in the public school, therefore, should think again; the courts have already decided otherwise.

The proposed Parental Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution will restore the responsibility of all government institutions (including public schools) to treat parental rights as a fundamental right. As a result, these rights will have to be respected even inside the school, and not evaporate at the front door.

To learn more about the Parental Rights Amendment, visit http://www//www.parentalrights.org.

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