Pennsylvania School District Violates Parents’ Rights

Ryan Hite, Jordan Henry, John and Andy Schlafly

Phyllis Schlafly wrote often about the rights of parents and their children - particularly when it came to education and public schools. Sadly, it is not uncommon today to hear of teachers, administrators, and entire school districts flagrantly ignoring the rights of parents. Last month, news surfaced that a Pennsylvania high school in the East Penn School District forced nearly 3,000 students to watch LGBT videos during so-called “Unity Week” in April.

How this and other organized activities (sponsored by a gay rights lobbying group) became mandatory in a public high school is disturbing enough, but the district poured gasoline on the fire by refusing to provide the videos to parents who requested to see what their children had watched.

Despite many requests, the district refused to provide the videos “because they are a part of a student project.” Ridiculous! In June, parents of the students and parental rights protectors objected at the school board’s meeting. Liberty Counsel, the religious freedom law firm, sent a letter to the superintendent, citing the state’s “Right to Know” law and threatening a lawsuit if the school didn’t provide the videos to parents.

Liberty Counsel attorney Richard Mast said that this “does not pass the ‘straight face’ test for the District to claim it need not provide parents with the actual video links, although the District required more than 2,800 students to view these videos, with no prior notice to their parents, and no opportunity to opt-out. This is a gross violation of parental rights.”

In closing, he warned “It would be convenient indeed if school districts could bypass all public records laws and parental notice and consent requirements for objectionable content,” but that’s exactly what East Penn School District seems ready to do.

Parents: don’t be intimidated by teachers or administrators who claim to know best for your children over you! While many educators only want the best for their students, they do not have ultimate responsibility. You are uniquely qualified to safeguard the well-being and education of your child. Remember that the right to make decisions regarding your child’s education comes with the responsibility to hold schools accountable.

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