Today the most liberal judge of the most liberal circuit court (Reinhardt of the Ninth, the same circuit that ruled that children reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at school is unconstitutional), ruled that parents do not have the right to determine what their seven-year-old children learn about sex while in school.
Parents sued the Palmdale School District for giving a survey, which included questions about sex, to students between the ages of seven and ten, without informing the parents of the nature of the survey. The district had sent home a note to parents asking for consent to administer a survey that would cover “baseline . . . exposure to early trauma (for example, violence).” The note omitted any mention of sex.
The survey the district administed to children in the first, third and fifth grades, asked students to “rate the following activities”:
8. Touching my private parts too much
17. Thinking about having sex
22. Thinking about touching other peopleâ€™s private parts
23. Thinking about sex when I donâ€™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. Canâ€™t stop thinking about sex
54. Getting upset when people talk about sex
The horrified parents complained that they would never have consented to the survey had they known its true nature. The school brushed aside their concerns and the parents brought suit. The district court rejected their suit and today the Ninth circuit upheld the district court ruling thus:
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.
Re-read that final sentence, remembering that it was this court that sided with those parents who objected to schools having children learn and recite the Pledge of Allegiance (and to pray, of course).
Fields v. Palmdale School Dist. can be accessed here