When former first lady and U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y. proclaimed that it takes a village to raise a child, many people didn't realize that she was enunciating liberal dogma that the government should raise and control children. This concept fell on fertile soil when it reached activist judges eager to be anointed as elders of the child-raising village.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in San Francisco, recently ruled that parents' fundamental right to control the upbringing of their children "does not extend beyond the threshold of the school door," and that a public school has the right to provide its students with "whatever information it wishes to provide, sexual or otherwise."
Instead of using the "village" metaphor, the judges substituted a Latin phrase that has the same effect. Parens patriae (the country as parent) was a legal concept used long ago by the English monarchy, but it never caught on in the United States and the few mentions of it in U.S. cases are not relevant to this decision.
The appeals court case, Fields v. Palmdale School District, was brought by parents who discovered that their 7- to 10-year-old children had been required to fill out a nosy questionnaire about such matters as "thinking about having sex," "thinking about touching other people's private parts," and "wanting to kill myself." The parents were shocked and looked to the court for a remedy.
No such luck. We live in times when judges (especially on the West Coast) seize opportunities to create new law and new government powers, even if they have to hide behind a Latin phrase of bygone years unknown to Americans.
The three-judge Court of Appeals panel - made up of Judges Donald P. Lay, Stephen Reinhardt and Sidney R. Thomas - unanimously ruled against the parents. The judges had been appointed by former Democratic Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, respectively.
The decision claimed that the purpose of the psychological sex survey was "to improve students' ability to learn." That doesn't pass the laugh test.
The appeals court decision stated that "there is no fundamental right of parents to be the exclusive provider of information regarding sexual matters to their children" and 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."
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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