Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The 9th Circuit of Irony

For those of you who missed it, the 9th circuit recently ruled that a Palmdale (north of LA) School District was in the right when they had 1st, 3rd, and 5th graders fill out a survey that included specific sexually-oriented questions. The parents received notification about the survey, but only that it would include references to traumatic activities. Here are a couple of the questions the children (7-year olds) were asked to rate:

8. Touching my private parts too much
17. Thinking about having sex
22. Thinking about touching other people's private parts
23. Thinking about sex when I don't want to
26. Washing myself because I feel dirty on the inside
34. Not trusting people because they might want sex
40. Getting scared or upset when I think about sex
44. Having sex feelings in my body
47. Can't stop thinking about sex
54. Getting upset when people talk about sex

The parents sued the school district saying that they would have not given consent had they known the explicit sexual nature of the questions. The 9th circuit gave this stunning ruling:

We agree, and hold that there is no fundamental right of parents to be the exclusive provider of information regarding sexual matters to their children, either independent of their right to direct the upbringing and education of their children or encompassed by it. We also hold 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.

In other words, the 9th circuit ruled that public schools can teach your children what they want, how they want, and when they want, and you have "no due process or privacy right" to intervene as a parent.

Now wouldn't it be interesting if the 9th Circuit could rule in Pennsylvania, too? If it could, maybe it would have refused to hear the case of a school district being sued for forcing teachers to give a 15 second introduction to Intelligent Design and reference a book, and then go on to teach the class about evolution.

If parents have "no due process or privacy right" to tell the school what and how they can teach, then how call 11 parents force the Dover district to change its curriculum?

If the 9th Circuit had ruled in the Dover case, do you think their ruling would have been the same?

Don't forget that this is the same circuit court that ruled that the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional.

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