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Thursday, November 03, 2005

Oh that crazy Ninth Circuit

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday that there is "no fundamental right of parents to be the exclusive provider of information regarding sexual matters to their children."  Parents had sued the Palmdale School District after finding that their kids had been asked a series of sexual questions in class regarding the frequency of, from a footnote on page 6 of the opinion:
Touching my private parts too much
Thinking about having sex
Thinking about touching other people's private parts
Thinking about sex when I don't want to
Washing myself because I feel dirty on the inside
Not trusting people because they might want sex
Getting scared or upset when I think about sex
Having sex feelings in my body
Can't stop thinking about sex
Getting upset when people talk about sex
Among other questions regarding nightmares, suicidal thoughts, gang violence, etc…

The program was apparently to address barriers to learning, and was devised in part by a volunteer graduate student “mental health counselor.” The questions were asked of first, third, and fifth grade students.  
The court also held 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.” Page 3

While I have not had the time to read the full opinion, it seems to be ridiculous, if from nothing other than a policy standpoint, that the survey, sexual portions and not, be administered to first and third graders, fifth graders maybe (and if you really want to look at these questions as addressing roadblocks to learning, try law students).

I would also note that the parents based their claim in part on a “Constitutional right to privacy”, which the court sees as symbolic of pretty much everything but this issue.  This is the same court that held the Pledge of Allegiance’s current text to be an unconstitutional endorsement of religion.

In the interest of being labeled a shill for the religious right in addition to a Republican hack, I feel compelled to note that I post this only because it may seriously impair my enjoyment of the new O.C. tonight.    


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