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Do Parents Have Rights?

Most parents of public school students probably assume they have certain rights, even if those rights are not always honored. They may not realize that the courts have addressed this issue a number of times and have concluded that once parents deliver their children to the front door of a public school, the parents and the children both forfeit many rights they'd normally have.

Consider this excerpt from the Nov. 2, 2005 opinion of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (and note that it confirms the opinion of another court). The Ninth Circuit case was specifically addressing interviews conducted with children in a California school in which first, third, and fifth graders were asked explicit sexual questions as well as other disturbing and intrusive questions. The parents who sued lost their case.

Excerpt: [O]nce parents make the choice as to which school their children will attend, ...their fundamental right to control the education of their children is, at the least, substantially diminished. The constitution does not vest parents with the authority to interfere with a public school’s decision as to how it will provide information to its students or what information it will provide, in its classrooms or otherwise. See Yoder, 406 U.S. at 205. Perhaps the Sixth Circuit said it best when it explained,

“While parents may have a fundamental right to decide whether to send their child to a public school, they do not have a fundamental right generally to direct how a public school teaches their child. Whether it is the school curriculum, the hours of the school day, school discipline, the timing and content of examinations, the individuals hired to teach at the school, the extracurricular activities offered at the school or, as here, a dress code, these issues of public education are generally ‘committed to the control of state and local authorities.’ ”

Read entire court decision.
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UpdateThe Supreme Court declined to review the Ninth Circuit Court's ruling after parents' appealed the decision.  The Supreme Court sees no need to reconsider parents' rights!

February 28, 2008: The Court of Appeal of the State of California, Second Appellate District, Division Three, has ruled that parents without teaching credentials have no constitutional right to educate their children.


The situation has drawn the attention and action of thousands of homeschoolers, California state education officials, the governor of California, and news sources across the country.


It should be stressed that California law has not changed. While this particular judgment does open the door to interpret future cases with similar harshness, it will take some time before the actual implications of this case for average homeschoolers may be fully realized. The most important thing to do is stay informed and not make any decisions in a panic.


Go to California Homeschool Update for the latest on this California Court ruling!

For a more in-depth look at the problems with public schooling, take a look at The Case for Separation!

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Is There a Problem?
Last updated March 27, 2008

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well-known signers of our proclamation:

Ed Crane
President, Cato Institute

John Taylor Gatto
1991 New York State Teacher of the Year

Fr. John A Hardon
The Catholic Catechism

Don Hodel
Former Secretary of Interior

D. James Kennedy
Coral Ridge Ministries

Rev. Tim LaHaye
Left Behind

Rabbi Daniel Lapin
President, Toward Tradition

Tom Monaghan
Founder, Domino’s Pizza

Ron Paul
US Congressman, Texas

John K Rosemond
Parenting Author, Columnist, Speaker

They and thousands of others have signed Our Proclamation:

"I favor ending government involvement in education."