Two words: Home School

Parents can’t stop sex survey at Joanne Jacobs
What if The Village is an idiot? at Donald Sensing

The 9th Circuit cour of Appeals has ruled that parents cannot prevent the public school from issuing a sex survey. The case in question was over a survey given to First, Third, and Fifth graders in Palmdale school district, California.

Yes dear readers. You read that right. “Sex Survey”, “First, Third, and Fifth graders”, and “Parents cannot stop”.

This particular survey was halted in 2002 after complaints from parents. Apparently someone was unhappy and litigated. It’s reached the 9th so far. More to come, I’m sure.

So there’s no doubt, this is what you’re up against:

The Appeals Court ruled that parents have ‘no fundamental rights to be the sole provider of teaching their children about sex and that they cannot prevent the public school system from teaching their children what it wishes‘.

Writing for the panel, Judge Stephen Reinhardt said: “Schools cannot be expected to accommodate the personal, moral or religious concerns of every parent. Such an obligation would not only contravene the educational mission of the public schools, but also would be impossible to satisfy.” Reinhardt also said that parents “have no due process or privacy right to override the determinations of public schools as to the information to which their children will be exposed while enrolled as students.” [emphasis mine]

Parents have ‘no fundamental right’. Those are what they used to call fighting words.

Never mind that, unless specifically spelled out in legislation, government has NO AUTHORITY OF ANY KIND WHATSOEVER OVER ANYONE. As I see it, the burden of proof should be upon the school district to prove that it has the authority to teach whatever it wishes. Unless it can do so, doesn’t the authority rest with the parent?

In any event, this sort of thing will never be solved in a meaningful, honest, just manner. The quote I included noted that meeting everyone’s needs was impossible. On this point I happen to agree with the court. Which is why I believe public education to be bad and getting worse.

Many of the commenters at the two posts I linked to point out that this is quite likely to be overturned, given the court and the judge involved. That may be true, but it doesn’t really make me feel any better about this sort of thing. Too much depends upon our kids to trust the crazies, in my humble opinion. That’s too bad.


  1. This particular survey was halted in 2002 after complaints from parents. Apparently someone was unhappy and litigated. It’s reached the 9th so far. More to come, I’m sure.’ Maybe I misunderstood this sentence, but that’s not the way appellate courts work. You’re allowed to go to the appeals court once, and you’re placed in a particular circuit. It’s not like you go to the original court, then the 1st circuit, then the 2nd, etc. So it’s been ruled on twice, maximum. The next step would be the Supreme Court, if they’ll take it.

  2. I don’t think it went to the courts the first time – complaints stopped it. This time around, it was litigated, and moved up to the ninth. The ninth has a tradtition of issuing decisions like this, and many are struck down. My wife and I live in an area with a nationally ranked public school. My wife taught in that school system. But there is no way we are sending are children into that world. I know some people home school for religious reasons, but that’s not our beef. It’s just the idiocy that runs wild in public schools. Some of it, highly pernicious idiocy. My son, and the daughter on the way, will be taught at home.

  3. Stefan: Yeah, that’s sort of a weird sentence. I certainly didn’t mean that it had already gone through courts #1-#8. When I said ‘more to come’ I did mean the Supreme Court. BH: We homeschool. We love it. It’s not perfect and takes a lot of work, but it’s worth it and then some.

  4. And I have nothing against most of the individuals in the public school system. I happen to have realtions who teach. They are good teachers and do their best to do a good job. But I think the system is broken and too many people are too willing to fight to keep it that way.

  5. Every school district in the country has clear authority in legislation to teach a curriculum determined by the board of education and various other bodies. People who don’t like it have the right to home school, or the right to enroll their children in a private school, in either case, at their own expense. Schools simply cannot make everybody happy. The court is right. They can make most people happy, most of the time, but that is it. Curricula change. When my parents were in school, everyone had to study Latin. Now, no one does and it would be unreasonable to demand that it be taught. Then, no school used calculators in math classes, or offerred keyboarding as part of the curriculum. Now, it would be unreasonable to demand that those not be taught. Sex is a hot button topic and most school districts choose to deal with it by having opt out options to prevent complaints. But, there are real limits to how far it is practical for a school to go to offer everyone exactly what they want.

  6. Geez, I’m pretty left-wing and even I think that parents should be able to tell schools what they do and do not want their children involved in (within reason – and this seems to me to be well within). After all, the school(s) should be concerned with educating children, any requests which don’t serious impact the ability to do so should be honored. I don’t see why, if parents want to teach a child a specific subject, they can’t do that and let the school teach the child all the rest, given that you’re allowed to do this home-schooling anyway.

  7. I have to agree with ohwilleke on this one. Parents can’t expect a ‘customized’ version of school for each and evry one of them. If the curriculam was properly formulated by the school authorities……deal with it. That’s not to mean you shouldn’t express your opinion properly in the appropriate venue to try and get percieved outrageousness changed. There were a bunch of things that wre ‘SOP’ in school when my brother and I went through (19th century….LOL!) that no longer exist. Times change……don’t be a dinosauer. I’ve never done that! Oops!

  8. okey… I guess I can see how such a set of questions would be a good way of finding and removing pedophiles from the community. If I were asked at that age I would just have given a black ‘huh?’ stare, and go back to the swing sets. Apart from that, school system is in need of big changes, but I don’t think home schooling is a good total edumacation solution either.

  9. One is left to wonder how to square the 9th Circuit’ position on the ‘Pledge,’ where one parent complained, with their statements in this case. Judges hate to have their own words thrown in their faces.