David Parker and his team of lawyers approach the reporters and TV cameras. Left to right: Robert Sinsheimer, Jeffrey Denner, David Parker, Neil Tassel
Lawyers representing a Massachusetts school district named as a defendant in a parent’s civil rights complaint have said teachers at Estabrook Elementary School have a “legitimate state interest” in teaching the homosexual lifestyle, and parents have no input into those decisions.
The arguments came in a recent hearing on the district’s motion to dismiss the complaint filed by David Parker, a parent whose concern over the school’s promotion of the homosexual agenda to grade-schoolers prompted a meeting with school officials, for which they had him arrested for trespassing.
According to a report from the activist group MassResistance.org, those arguments echoed the claims made earlier in the case when a brief in support of the school’s position was filed by a collection of homosexual advocacy organizations.
“The state must fight ‘discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation’ in ways that ‘do not perpetuate stereotypes,’” the lawyers for the school district argued. They also explained to the judge that, in their opinion, parents have no right to control what ideas the school presents to elementary schoolchildren, and if parents disagree with that dictate, they can take their children elsewhere.
“Once I have elected to send my child to public school, my fundamental right does not allow me to direct what my child is exposed to in the public school,” said the school’s lawyer.
David Parker in handcuffs
Dozens of parents’ rights supporters of the Parker family braved freezing temperatures to offer moral support to David Parker in the hearing on his case against school officials in Lexington, Mass.
Parker was represented by lawyers Jeffrey Denner, Robert Sinsheimer and Neil Tassel, who argued before Judge Mark Wolf that what the school calls “diversity training” more accurately would be called “indoctrination,” since several viewpoints were absent from the school’s presentations, and only the pro-homosexual position was present.
And lawyers said the school “ultimatum” to “remove yourself and go somewhere else” was vulgar.
“American values rely on religion. Religious rights trump the secular. Parents have the right to direct the moral upbringing of their children,” said Sinsheimer. “It is the Constitution that protects the minority segment from the majority… The Parkers choose to send their children to the Lexington Public Schools to be part of the fabric of the community.”
The elementary curriculum promoting homosexuality, he said, was specifically intended to change a child’s outlook of the world to something that his parents didn’t teach him.
An ACLU lawyer, however, told the judge that “it is a tremendous bonus” for children to be given information of which their parents wouldn’t approve, and that teaching children homosexuality when their parents’ Biblical beliefs do not support that has nothing to do with a violation of religious freedom, according to the MassResistance.org reports.
“David Parker’s dilemma … threatens the parental rights and religious freedom of every Massachusetts parent, and indirectly every parent in America,” said John Haskins of the Parents’ Rights Coalition.
“As the Lexington schools themselves are arguing, the state’s right to force pro-homosexuality indoctrination on other people’s children arises directly from former Gov. Mitt Romney’s nakedly false and unconstitutional declaration that homosexual marriage is now legal.”
Supporters march in front of the courthouse where arguments over parental rights were being held in David Parker’s case
Haskins said when the Massachusetts state Supreme Court demanded homosexual marriages in the state, it didn’t have the constitutional or legal authority to order the governor to act or to order the Legislature to make any changes.
Officials said Wolf usually announces a decision within several weeks of a hearing, and that’s what is expected in this case. Parker’s lawyers are scheduled to supplement their oral arguments with written briefs this week.
The brief filed earlier by the Human Rights Campaign, the ACLU, the Massachusetts Teachers Association, and Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders in support of the school’s homosexual promotions said parental rights “have never meant that a parent can demand prior notice and the right to opt a child out of mere exposure to ideas in the public schools that a parent disapproves of.”
Brian Camenker, a spokesman for MassResistance.org, said the high-profile groups must see Parker’s claims “as quite a threat to their ability to push their message on children.”
He said his organization, a “pro-family action center for Massachusetts” which equips citizens to fight attacks on freedoms, constitutional government, children and parental rights, can see the “true agenda” of the homosexual organizations in their demands.
Parker was arrested and jailed in Lexington in April 2005 over his request – and the school’s refusal – to notify him when adults discuss homosexuality or transgenderism with his elementary-age son. The school took that position despite a state law requiring such notification.
Then in April 2006 the same school chose to present the same single-perspective information, and again refused to notify Parker, who followed with the federal civil rights lawsuit.
Just days later, David Parker’s son, Jacob, was beaten up at the school, officials said. MassResistance said a group of 8-10 kids surrounded him and took him out of sight of “patrolling aides,” then pummeled and beat him.
Joining David and Tonia Parker in the lawsuit were Joseph and Robin Wirthlin. They allege district officials and staff at Estabrook violated state law and civil rights by indoctrinating their children about an immoral lifestyle, circumventing parental responsibilities.
The school is claiming a state law permitting parents to pull their children applies only to classes in which such sensitive topics are the main focus, and the books promoting homosexuality were not the main focus.
David Parker’s son brought home the book ‘Who’s in a Family?’ in school’s ‘Diversity Book Bag’ (Image: Article 8 Alliance)
The arguments on behalf of homosexuals were remarkably similar to a recent European court’s conclusion.
The European Human Rights Court several months ago concluded in a case involving similar objections that parents do not have an “exclusive” right to lead their children’s education and any parental “wish” to have their children grow up without adverse influences “could not take priority over compulsory school attendance.”
That court said a German family had no right to provide homeschooling for their children. The family had argued the public school endangered their children’s religion beliefs and violated the family’s Christian faith.
Irrelevant, said the court. “The parents’ right to education did not go as far as to deprive their children of that experience,” it said.
“The (German) Federal Constitutional Court stressed the general interest of society to avoid the emergence of parallel societies based on separate philosophical convictions and the importance of integrating minorities into society,” the European ruling said.
In Germany, the situation has continued to deteriorate for homeschoolers, with one 15-year-old student recently being taken into custody by a SWAT team and ordered by a judge to a psychiatric ward of a hospital because she was being homeschooled. WND’s latest update on that situation has confirmed authorities now have removed the teen from the psych ward, and she has been taken to a location that is being withheld from her parents and lawyer.