Constitutional Law - School's Use of Books Depicting Same-Sex Couples Does Not Violate Parents' Constitutional Rights - Parker V. Hurley‪.‬

Suffolk University Law Review, 2009, Spring, 42, 2

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Beschreibung des Verlags

At times in United States history, religious freedom and the right to a public education have been at odds, and these disputes have frequently spilled into the federal courts. (1) Particularly, federal courts have often heard claims from parents who argue that public schools violated their First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion and Fourteenth Amendment right to direct the upbringing of their children. (2) In Parker v. Hurley, (3) the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit considered whether a public school violated parents' constitutional rights when it exposed young students to picture books depicting same-sex couples without affording parents the opportunity to exempt their children. (4) The First Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the parents' claims, holding that the claims were constitutionally insignificant. (5) When the suit was filed, David and Tonia Parker and Joseph and Robin Wirthlin were parents in Lexington, Massachusetts, who described themselves as devout Judeo-Christians and who believed that homosexuality violated their religious beliefs. (6) The Parkers' sons, Jacob and Joshua, and the Wirthlins' son, Joseph, Jr. (Joey), attended a public elementary school. (7) In January 2005, kindergarten student Jacob Parker brought home a book depicting many different types of families, including one with two fathers and another with two mothers. (8) Over the following four months, the Parkers thrice asked various school administrators to not mention homosexuality to Jacob, to give the Parkers notice of any upcoming discussions on homosexuality, and to allow them to remove Jacob from such discussions. (9) Not only did the administrators refuse these requests, but the Lexington Superintendent of Schools stated that the school district would not give notice to parents of any activities that referred to the existence of different sexual orientations. (10) After the Parkers learned that the book collection in Jacob's first-grade classroom included two books depicting same-sex parents, they again requested advance notice of the use of such books, and the superintendent again denied their request. (11)

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