Protecting parental rights

Education | Texas bill forbids public schools to come between children and their parents
by La Shawn Barber
Posted on Wednesday, November 23, 2016, at 2:52 pm

Konni Burton introduced a bill in the Texas state Senate that bars public schools from hiding or withholding information from parents about their children. If passed, her bill would give parents the right to see all written records related to their children’s test scores, grades, disciplinary records, etc., including records related to their physical, psychological, and emotional well-being. A school would face disciplinary action if it hides or withholds this information, or encourages the student to do the same—even if the student asks the school to do so.

Burton, a Republican, wrote an op-ed in May opposing the Fort Worth Independent School District’s new guidelines to allow students who identify as the opposite sex to use restroom and other private facilities of their choice and attend opposite-sex gym classes—with no parental or public comment on the rule. I think it’s safe to say her bill is in response to these new guidelines.

As parents are legally and morally responsible for their minor children, they have a legal and a natural right to know what’s happening with the vulnerable and impressionable young people they’re raising. Members of the homosexual lobby are, of course, opposed to Burton’s bill, saying it will force schools to “out” children who consider themselves homosexual.

“Until kids are not kicked out of their house for being gay or transgender, and until kids are not being beaten by parents for being gay or transgender, we owe it to kids to protect them,” Equality Texas board chairman Steven M. Rudman said.

Burton’s chief of staff, Elliott Griffin, said the homosexual lobby’s interpretation of the bill was “unfortunate,” and that he had “no idea why they would draw that conclusion.”

I don’t advocate parents kicking their kids out of the house or beating them up, but parents need to know whether their children are struggling with sexual confusion. Laws already exist to deal with abuse, and it’s not the government’s place to hide these issues or encourage children to lie to their parents.

Parents need to know whether their children are struggling with sexual confusion.

“And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord,” the Apostle Paul wrote to believing parents. Moms and dads have a godly duty to train and admonish, and they must know what’s going on to fulfill their obligation. Just as God loves, protects, instructs, guides, and disciplines His children, Christians parents must do the same. God is slow to anger. He is patient with us and forgiving. His relationship with us serves as a model for all believers.

No matter what leftists fear, parents should reject any attempt by government-controlled schools to hide or withhold information about their children. Fed-up parents can remove and homeschool their kids to limit this kind of government interference. Or they can fight the system from the inside, lobby their lawmakers for disclosure rights, and encourage their children to be open and honest with them about any problems, whether physical, mental, or spiritual.

La Shawn Barber

La Shawn writes about culture, faith, and politics. Her work has appeared in the Christian Research Journal, Christianity Today, the Washington Examiner, and other publications

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Comments

  • Hans's picture
    Hans
    Posted: Sat, 11/26/2016 07:07 am

    Parents should "encourage their children to be open and honest with them about any problems, whether physical, mental, or spiritual." I totally agree, but I don't see at all how mandating that school counselors share information with parents is going to promote this. If schools have to share all information with parents, kids will just not talk to the counselors at their schools for fear that it will get back to their parents.

     

    In the military, the chaplains have 100% legally protected confidentiality (which exceeds the bounds of confidentiality of doctors and lawyers). Are there things that people tell chaplains that really should be shared with supervisors for the safety of coworkers, family members, or the life of the servicemember? Of course, but chaplains are bound under the UCMJ to protect that confidentiality in spite of all those times because then people will at least talk to a chaplain. They retain control over their own confidential information. The goal, of course, is for chaplains to be able to push the servicemembers towards the resources that they need, which probably includes sharing that information with family, mental health, and the chain of command.

     

    I see an analogy to these kinds of situations. Of course in an ideal world, students would share their thoughts and concerns with their parents. When they don't, and they share it with people at their schools, that confidence should not be legally compromised on the basis that parents have a right to know everything about their kids. Protect the confidentiality, and then encourage those entrusted with that in the school to push the kids towards healthier choices where they can open up with their issues to more people, including (hopefully) parents. Otherwise, the unintended consequence is going to be greater isolation, which leads to far worse problems.

  • Hawkdriver
    Posted: Tue, 11/29/2016 11:57 pm

    My wife and I have 5 children ages 13 - 20.  I have been in the military for 20 years.  I have commanded soldiers including chaplains.  I do not see the correlation you are making between parental responsibility in raising their children before God and military chaplain confidentiality.  You are talking about adult soldiers and compairing them with children.  The parents have a 100% right to know everything the school knows about their kids, period.

  • jclark53
    Posted: Sun, 11/27/2016 02:33 pm

    I didn't realize parents don't already have that right. As parents we are legally obligated to support our children and pay for the consequences of their choices and behavior. That should also give us the right to know what their behavior is and have a say in it, as much as parents can. Yes, they will do things we disagree with but the established authorities should not try to prevent us from finding out about it. The state does not OWN our children. We don't either, but we are given the role of raising them by the One who does own them.

  • socialworker
    Posted: Mon, 11/28/2016 11:48 am

    I think you put far too much confidence in school personnel's wisdom and compassion, Hans.  Many teachers/administrators I know are driven by ideology and liberal causes rather than best interest of the child.  They are the ones who whisk girls across state lines for abortions without considering the emotional and mental health consequences for life.  They are the ones who say they take a zero tolerance stance on bullying but actual bully conservative thinking kids in their classrooms regularly.  As fallible and scary as parents sometimes are with their kids, I'd rather see parents have authority than school staff who won't have to live with the conssequences of their influence past graduation.

  • JD
    Posted: Mon, 11/28/2016 02:30 pm

    Hans- socialworker is absolutely correct. As a former teacher, I can attest to the fact that counselors do take minor children to a "clinic" to get an abortion. And, I can also attest to the fact that conservative kids are absolutely bullied- not only by teachers, but I've seen teachers encourage students to mock and bully conservative students. Parents are the rightful authorities over their children and, as such, should stand up for that right rather than roll over and buy into the liberal lies that the state knows better how to raise your child.

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