Parents of Elementary School Children Lose Rights
Parents of Elementary School Children Lose Rights
Written By Laurie Higgins   |   12.07.09

Reading Time: 4 minutes

As the Director of School Advocacy, I write primarily about current problems in public schools. The topics about which I write are generated primarily by concerns brought to my attention by parents of current public school children; staff or faculty currently employed in public schools; or news stories. The reason I write so much about the problem of pro-homosexual advocacy in public education is that that is the dominant problem parents and school employees are encountering in government schools.

I have two goals: First, to curtail the efforts of activist ideologues to use public education to transform the views of other people’s children on the nature and morality of homosexuality and cross-dressing.

And second, to awaken the conservative community to their moral obligation to oppose these efforts with as much courage, conviction, forthrightness, vigor, and perseverance that activists demonstrate.

Activist ideologues routinely mouth their respect for diversity all the while censoring conservative views with hypocritical abandon. Those parents, community members, faculty, and administrators who hold traditional views about homosexuality and cross-dressing must express them with clarity and boldness even if the result is scorn and hostility from those who have arrogantly assumed that only their views are entitled to be represented in academia.

Focus on the Family’s Citizenlink wrote about a Dec. 2009 court decision in CA that I hope serves as a warning to Illinoisans about where their silence will lead:

Some of you may recall hearing about the plight of parents in Alameda, Californiawho were told their elementary-age kids have to receive pro-gay lessons provided by the public school district–even if those lessons violate their families’ most deeply held religious convictions.

The parents fought back with a lawsuit, asking the court to make the school district honor their requests to opt children out of the controversial teaching.

But this week, the parents got bad news: Judge Frank Roesch of the Superior Court of California in Alameda County denied their request, giving schools carte blanche to indoctrinate kids against their parents’ wishes.

The logic? The judge determined that “any opt out right” is “outweighed by the policies against discrimination and harassment of students from LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender] families.”

Translation: State laws and school provisions citing special protections for homosexual characteristics automatically trump parental rights and religious freedoms. (Next step for the parents is to appeal the decision with the help of Pacific Justice Institute.)

Parents, please take note. This represents the latest tactics being used by gay activist groups to undermine your rights. And this specific Alameda case offers some lessons that are worth paying attention to:

1) Gay activists are aggressively pushing so-called anti-bullying or anti-harassment policies for schools that contain specific references to things like “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” Once passed, they use these policies as legal teeth to enforce things like pro-gay curricula for six- and seven-year-olds.

2) Homosexuality teaching is being couched within “tolerance” and “bullying” lessons as a way to skirt parental rights. Many state and local opt-out policies have wording that can be construed to only apply to subjects like health or sex education. Therefore, gay activists push schools to categorize homosexuality teaching under more general topics like “tolerance,” “bullying prevention” or “family diversity”–and then argue that opt-out provisions do not apply to these topics.

That’s exactly what happened in Alameda. The judge bought the gay-activist and liberal school-attorney arguments–and decided that opt-out provisions in the state education code only apply to subjects formally categorized as “health” instruction. And therefore, he found that parents don’t have the right to opt their kids out of so-called tolerance lessons.

3) When it comes to battles between pro-gay “nondiscrimination” laws and religious freedoms-religious freedoms are increasingly losing out. And this in turn, is creating alarming disrespect for religious viewpoints in public schools. In this case, for instance, attorneys for the Alameda school district felt free to vilify religious parents–listing as evidence against them that “they believe homosexuality is a sin” and accusing them of trying to “avoid having their children be taught respect.”

This simply isn’t true. People of faith consider respect for others to be a core tenet of their religious teachings. And they believe respect is based on the fact that all people “are created equal” by God. Respect should not be twisted into an excuse to indoctrinate young children into homosexual and “transgender” activism.

This CA court decision constitutes a troubling echo of a similar 2007 decision in Massachusettsin which Judge Mark Wolf wrote the following:

[P]ublic schools are entitled to teach anything that is reasonably related to the goals of preparing students to become engaged and productive citizens in our democracy. Diversity is a hallmark of our nation. It is increasingly evident that our diversity includes differences in sexual orientation….

It is reasonable for public educators to teach elementary school students about individuals with different sexual orientations and about various forms of families, including those with same-sex parents….In addition, it is reasonable for those educators to find that teaching young children to understand and respect differences in sexual orientation will contribute to an academic environment in which students who are gay, lesbian, or the children of same-sex parents will be comfortable and, therefore, better able to learn….

the Constitution does not compel [public schools]…to permit [parents] to exempt their children from teaching about homosexuality or same-sex marriage….

Parents, no matter what age your children, tell all of their teachers that under no circumstance are your children to be presented with any resources that address homosexuality or “transgenderism.” Tell your children’s teachers that this means no films, essays, newspaper or magazine articles, books, plays, assemblies, speakers, or anti-bullying resources. Because of the absolute censorship that pervades public education, you can be sure that all resources that address homosexuality and cross-dressing will affirm them.

If your teachers refuse to consent to your expectation, politely but firmly insist that your children be moved into the classes of teachers who do not use curricula to advance their unproven philosophical, political, or moral beliefs. Do not allow your fear to result in acquiescence.

Laurie Higgins
Laurie Higgins was the Illinois Family Institute’s Cultural Affairs Writer in the fall of 2008 through early 2023. Prior to working for the IFI, Laurie worked full-time for eight years...
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