Court says parents not sole providers of kids’ sex education.
SAN FRANCISCO, California (AP) — A federal appeals court Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit by parents who were outraged that the Palmdale school district had surveyed their elementary school-age children about sex.
The three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the parents’ claim that they have the exclusive right to tell their children about sex.
In upholding a lower court ruling against the parents, Circuit Judge Stephen Reinhardt said “no such specific right can be found in the deep roots of the nation’s history and tradition or implied in the concept of ordered liberty.”
The appeals court noted that other courts have upheld mandatory health classes, a school system’s condom distribution program and compulsory sex ed.
The parents had sought unspecified damages.
An attorney for the parents, Erik Gunderson, said he was considering an appeal. The district’s attorney, Dennis Walsh, said the survey was part of a legitimate effort aimed at helping students.
The district dropped the survey in 2002 amid complaints from parents. It was given to children in the first, third and fifth grades as part of a program to gauge early trauma and help youngsters overcome barriers to learning.
Among other things, the students were asked how often they thought about sex.
Parents whose students took the survey signed consent forms. But the forms never mentioned sex would be a topic.