Dec 04 2007
Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)
WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) has introduced legislation strengthening the rights of parents in the education of their children.
“The rights of parents are under assault from school districts, teachers unions, and activist judges,” said Graham. “Parental rights do not and should not end at the schoolhouse door.”
In November 2005, a group of California parents brought suit against their school district for not being fully informed about a questionnaire given to their children containing strong sexual and violent content.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the parents claiming their rights do not, “extend beyond the threshold of the school door.” The court also stated that once parents choose to enroll their children in a particular educational program, they have no right to determine what information their children are exposed to at school, nor do they have the right to be the sole provider of sexual information to their children
The Parents’ Rights Empowerment and Protection Act (PREP) seeks to address the problems with the Court’s ruling. The legislation:
- requires any educational institution receiving federal funds to obtain the affirmative, informed, written consent of the parent before requesting or conveying information to the child on matters related to sex or sexuality;
- creates a private right of action for parents if an educational institution violates the required consent provisions;
- temporarily cuts off federal funds for schools found to be in violation of this statute; and
reaffirms parents are primarily responsible for the care, health, and education of their children.
“It is unfortunate that this legislation is needed, but without it there is no way to correct an egregious court decision by the Ninth Circuit,” said Graham. “Eliminating parental input regarding public school decisions is a disaster for public schools. The last thing we need to do is to alienate or destroy parental involvement in public education.”
U.S. Senators Sam Brownback (R-KS), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Jim DeMint (R-SC), John Ensign (R-NV), and James Inhofe (R-OK) have signed on as co-sponsors. The American Center for Law and Justice, Eagle Forum and Family Research Council have expressed support for the legislation.