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)
Homosexual activists are expected to show up today at the trial of a Massachusetts man arrested while attempting to secure a promise from school officials to notify parents before teaching about homosexuality in his son’s kindergarten class.
David Parker, who faces criminal prosecution by the town of Lexington, spent a night in jail in April and was charged with criminal trespassing after refusing to leave a scheduled meeting with officials at the Estabrook Elementary School.
Parker said he wouldn’t leave unless the officials agreed to provide parental notice of lessons about homosexuality and gave him the option of pulling his child out of the classes.
Parker’s situation has drawn national attention, and he was scheduled to appear on ABC’s “World News Tonight.”
An organized group of angry homosexual activists have come to nearly every one of Parker’s court hearings or public appearances to hold signs and attempt to intimidate him and his supporters, says a Massachusetts group supporting the parent, Article 8 Alliance. At a Sept. 6 event, Lexington police would not allow Parker to be interviewed by TV reporters because they feared violence would erupt.
The Superintendent of Schools, Paul Ash, has banned Parker from setting foot on all school property in the town, despite pleas from Parker and his lawyers, who argue he never has been considered a dangerous person.
A plea bargain was sought by the district attorney’s office Sept. 19, and Judge Robert McKenna postponed the trial for a month to give Ash more time to decide whether to lift the ban.
But this week, Ash informed Parker’s lawyers he does not intend to relent. On Sept. 22, Ash announced he was ordering all teachers not to notify parents when discussing homosexual relationships with schoolchildren.
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.
David Parker’s son brought home the book ‘Who’s in a Family?’ in school’s ‘Diversity Book Bag’ (Image: Article 8 Alliance)
The illustrated book 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.”
Parker complained to school officials, and at a scheduled meeting at Estabrook Elementary School April 27 with the principal and the town’s director of education, he was told an agreement could be reached.
But after the superintendent intervened via telephone, Parker abruptly was told that unless he left the meeting he would be arrested.
Parker insisted that an agreement be reached before he left, and school officials called police, who handcuffed him and brought him to jail, where he spent the night.
Parker also was ordered to keep off school grounds. He says he is not even permitted to pick up his own child from the school.
Meanwhile, Ash explained in a written statement on the controversy that the school district had no obligation to provide parental notification of such lessons because they are not about “human sexuality,” but rather about “tolerance and respect.”
Massachusetts state law requires parental notification of discussion of human sexuality issues in the classroom. Gov. Mitt Romney, in fact, has stated the law should apply in this Lexington case. Ash disagrees.
He said in his written statement: “The Massachusetts Department of Education, which is responsible for administering Section 32A, has explained that activities and materials designed to promote tolerance and respect for individuals, including recognition of differences in sexual orientation ‘without further instruction on the physical and sexual implications’ do not trigger the notice and opt out provisions of Section 32A. Under this standard, staff has no obligation to notify parents of discussions, activities, or materials that simply reference same-gender parents or that otherwise recognize the existence of differences in sexual orientation. Accordingly, I expect teachers to continue to allow children access to such activities and materials to the extent appropriate to children’s ages, to district goals of respecting diversity, and to the curriculum.’”