David Parker, parent of kindergartner, stands before Judge Robert McKenna in Concord District Court April 28 after spending the night in jail (Photo: Article 8 Alliance)
A Massachusetts man faces a court trial over a dispute about the teaching of homosexuality in his son’s kindergarten class.
David Parker, of Lexington, spent a night in jail and was charged with criminal trespassing after refusing to leave a scheduled meeting with school officials April 27, unless they gave him the option of pulling his child out of certain classes.
Parker says the officials had indicated they would agree to a notification policy then suddenly refused. He insists he has done nothing wrong and is willing to contest the charge rather than plea-bargain.
At a hearing Tuesday, Parker’s trial date was set for Sept. 21.
The Lexington School Board contends Parker deliberately set out to be arrested and make national headlines.
Parker’s attorney, Jeffrey Denner, rejected that claim as supporters picketed outside the courthouse.
David Parker’s son brought home the book ‘Who’s in a Family?’ in school’s ‘Diversity Book Bag’ (Image: Article 8 Alliance)
“That is simply untrue. I don’t speak for the school, but that is simply untrue,” he said. “He was invited to come in, he came in, there was a dialogue going back and forth, there were faxes sent back and forth, from the school to the school committee. His intent was absolutely not to be arrested. His intent was to establish a dialogue to protect his own children and other children as well.”
The dispute began last spring when Parker’s then-5-year-old son brought home a book to be shared with his parents titled, “Who’s in a Family?” The optional reading material, which came in a “Diversity Book Bag,” depicted at least two households led by homosexual partners.
“There’s a larger issue here locally and nationally and internationally about the role of family and what kind of encroachments government can make into children’s and people’s lives,” Denner told reporters.
The illustrated book, according to the local non-profit group Article 8 Alliance, says, “A family can be made up in many different ways” and includes this text:
“Laura and Kyle live with their two moms, Joyce and Emily, and a poodle named Daisy. It takes all four of them to give Daisy her bath.”
Another illustrated page says:
“Robin’s family is made up of her dad, Clifford, her dad’s partner, Henry, and Robin’s cat, Sassy. Clifford and Henry take turns making dinner for their family.”
Article 8, an opponent of the state’s same-sex marriage law, says the book “uses subtle but powerful emotions to normalize homosexual relationships in the minds of the young children.”
A backer of the Lexington School District, Laura Tully, argued, according to WCVB-TV in Boston, “A 5-year-old who is coming to the classroom with two moms deserves to be in a classroom that includes books that show his family.”
Denner said he is negotiating with school officials to prevent the trial, but he also indicated that Parker likely will file a civil suit in federal court by this fall against the town of Lexington, the school system and its officials.