David Parker and his team of lawyers talk to the press after a court hearing. Left to right: Robert Sinsheimer, Jeffrey Denner, David Parker, Neil Tassel
A Massachusetts man handcuffed and hauled to jail after he objected to a public school teaching his kindergarten-age son about homosexuality and refused to leave a meeting has gone to the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals seeking justice.
The man, his wife and another family are battling what they describe as a court order for segregation, after a judge ruled if they didn’t like the school’s advocacy for homosexuality, they could take their children and leave.
They also are arguing that U.S. District Judge Mark Wolf’s statement that “as it is difficult to change attitudes … after they have developed, it is reasonable for public schools to attempt to teach understanding and respect for gays and lesbians,” actually is unconstitutional.
The appeal is in the case brought by David and Tonia Parker and Joseph and Robin Wirthlin, who have children of school age in Lexington, Mass. They alleged district officials and staff at Estabrook Elementary School violated state law and civil rights by indoctrinating their children to approve homosexuality, which they, as Christians, teach is immoral.
Wolf, however, concluded that Christians who attend public schools in Massachusetts need such teachings to be “engaged and productive citizens” and dismissed the families’ civil rights claim.
Wolf said it is reasonable, indeed there is an obligation, for public schools to teach young children to accept and endorse homosexuality. The judge agreed that “the rights of religious freedom and parental control over the upbringing of children … would undermine teaching and learning…”
“Wolf’s ruling is every parent’s nightmare. It goes to extraordinary lengths to legitimize and reinforce the ‘right’ (and even the duty) of schools to normalize homosexual behavior to even the youngest of children,” said a statement from the pro-family group Mass Resistance.
David Parker in handcuffs
Parker, who was arrested and jailed at the request of school officials when he went to the school to complain of the homosexual indoctrination of his 5-year-old son, told WND that the court briefs have been filed with the appellate court, and they argue, among other issues, that the order from the judge was unconstitutional.
“Wolf makes the odious statement that the Parkers’ only options are (1) send their kids to a private school, (2) home-school their kids, or (3) elect a majority of people to the School Committee who agree with them. Can you imagine a federal judge in the Civil Rights era telling blacks the same thing – that if they can’t be served at a lunch counter they should just start their own restaurant, or elect a city council to pass laws that reflect the U.S. Constitution?” Mass Resistance said.
Parker told WND the issue never has been about what the school officials desire to teach; only about his demand that they notify him of such controversial topics so that he could either withdraw his son from the class, or explain to him how the educators are trying to “trick” him.
He points at the homosexual lobby in America as the ones pushing the envelope. And indeed, the biggest names in that field, including the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network; and Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, have deposited amicus briefs with the court opposing Parker.
The activist group Americans for Truth About Homosexuality said GLSEN is a “very powerful national homosexual group targeting children in schools” and pushes “the most extreme homosexual topics and issues on vulnerable kids.” Other organizations have similar agendas, the group said. Other groups lobbying for the homosexual teachings are the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Campaign and Massachusetts Teachers Association.
Earlier, Mass Resistance President Brian Camenker had wondered why such national groups were “so interested in a parent’s right to decide what moral issues are taught to his children by adults in elementary schools, especially regarding homosexuality.”
“They must see David Parker’s case as quite a threat to their ability to push their message on children,” he said.
“What they want is to be able to do this behind the backs of parents,” Parker told WND. “What they’re doing is trying to steal the role of the parent, and put it in the hands of administrators, many of whom have been trained by GLSEN.”
He said the advocacy groups’ goal is to convince children at a very young age that “gay marriage” is normal” and homosexuality is normal.
“It has been affirmed (by Wolf) they indeed not only have the right to indoctrinate, but there is a moral imperative,” Parker said. “That’s what the ruling says.
“They understand to push the agenda forward, they have to tread upon the authority of parents. They understand very well what they have to do,” he said. “They see this (case) as an opportunity to create a precedent for the entire country, to mow over the parents.
“There’s not a level to which they will do this and stop,” he said. “That’s the problem. There’s no boundaries to their thinking on this. What this agenda hates is boundaries.”
He said the appeal is asking for reinstatement of the case, so that it can be heard in court.
“What we are asking is for something minimal,” he said. “We’re asking essentially to be notified, we’re asking ‘If you’re going to present your indoctrination session to little children as young as four years old, you need to notify the parents.'”
He said the opposing side has argued for the teachings and against parental notification, based on the facility being a public school.
Parker especially took exception to Wolf’s remedy at the district level — to tell the parents they could take their children somewhere else if they objected.
“That’s court-ordered segregation,” Parker told WND. “His solution and the court remedy is court-ordered segregation.”
The appeals noted that Wolf’s comments went far beyond a judicial proceeding.
“Contrary to the views of the defendants and the District Court, a public school has no right to change children’s minds about their deeply held faith, particularly in the private areas of marriage and procreation,” the appeal brief said.
“It is the school administration that seeks to restrict the flow of information to parents when knowingly inculcating beliefs antithetical to their Faith,” the document said. “The injunctive relief requested seeks to remove this dictated restriction and restore primacy to the parental role of overseeing their children’s moral education.”
AFTAH officials said the Wolf ruling already is impacting the lives of other people.
“We recently met with a mother who was preparing to take her local school system to court over a particular homosexual-related activity that she felt was going to affect her child in a destructive way. But when she discussed it with her lawyer (who specializes in dealing with public schools) the lawyer told her that the recent ruling by Federal Judge Mark Wolf in the David Parker case would make it difficult for her to win!” the group said.
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