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Judge boots parents from son's schooling
Posted By -NO AUTHOR- On 12/18/2007 @ 1:00 am In Front Page | Comments Disabled
Another judge in Massachusetts has ruled against parental input regarding the education of their own children, this time deciding that a district’s special education program for a 13-year-old can move forward even though his parents refused to sign an authorization for the additional monitoring and counseling.
As WND reported, it was a year ago when U.S. District Judge Mark L. Wolf of Massachusetts dismissed a civil rights lawsuit by a parent, concluding it is reasonable, indeed there is an obligation, for public schools to teach young children to accept and endorse homosexuality.
That case, involving parent David Parker, recently was argued on appeal of Wolf’s decision, which essentially adopted the reasoning in a brief submitted by several homosexual-advocacy groups. They said “the rights of religious freedom and parental control over the upbringing of children … would undermine teaching and learning…”
In the newest case, Kevin and Peggy Lewis were taken to court by the Cohasset Public Schools, where officials wanted to expand a special education program for their 13-year-old son. They refused to sign the needed documentation, so teachers sought a court order.
“I think we’ve done a great job raising our children,” Kevin Lewis told Boston television station NECN.
“We know what’s best,” he said.
However, Meg Wiley, a special education teacher, said in her opinion the Lewises’ 13-year-old son needed additional care for her to consider the state to have provided him a “free and appropriate education.”
Special education teacher Meg Wiley telling a court how a 13-year-old needs more special education care
Officials at Parental Rights, said they couldn’t comment on the specific case without seeing more information about the judge’s order, which was issued verbally and not in writing. But they said in general, the system should not push parents away.
“Parents know their children better than anyone and if the state refuses to partner with parents in public schools then we’ve got a serious problem,” a spokesman said.
According to the Boston Globe, Norfolk Superior Court Judge Patrick F. Brady, as soon as the court arguments concluded, granted permission for Cohasset Public Schools to move forward with its special education for the eighth-grader – even though the parents oppose the plan.
Cohasset Supt. Denise M. Walsh praised the decision.
“It reinforces to our professional staff that they never lost the focus on putting that child first and at the center of all decisions,” Walsh told the newspaper. “They believe every child is a winner and every child can be successful.”
The Lewises have clashed several times with the district over treatment of their son. When the school outlined an increase in its extra monitoring for him, they objected.
In June, the Lewises informed the school they would remove their son from special education classes, and provide their own services, so the school went to court.
“This is truly devastating to all parents who have children on an IEP [individual education plan]” Peggy Lewis told the paper. “What it means in fact when you sign an IEP for your child, you sign away your parental rights … ”
“It’s always been true, under special education laws, that the best interest of the child would trump even the parents’ rights,” said Richard Robison, executive director of the Federation for Children with Special Needs, which works with the state.
Wiley explained that the 13-year-old has several “learning issues,” including difficult focusing and understanding instructions.
Peggy Lewis said she didn’t know if she and her husband would appeal, since they plan to move their son to a private school next year.
“Patrick has great grades, and it has nothing to do with the education plan or the student services … Now Cohasset has their grasp on my kid,” she said.
She noted the school has begun monitoring the 13-year-old during Spanish and music classes, even though he does not get special education help in those areas.
“Did that not sound like a witch hunt?” Peggy Lewis asked.
The Lewises said they consider the school’s actions harassment of their son.
The earlier case involves 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 about the homosexual lifestyle they, as Christians, teach is immoral.
The Wolf ruling, however, mandated the teaching of such beliefs.
“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.
“In the ruling, Wolf makes the absurd claim that normalizing homosexuality to young children is ‘reasonably related to the goals of preparing students to become engaged and productive citizens in our democracy.’ According to Wolf, this means teaching ‘diversity’ which includes ‘differences in sexual orientation.’
“In addition, 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?” the organization said.
Wolf’s statements followed very closely the reasoning submitted in a brief by Human Rights Campaign, the ACLU, Massachusetts Teachers Association, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders and other advocates for the “gay” agenda.
The judge concluded that even allowing Christians to withdraw their children from classes or portions of classes where the religious beliefs were being violated wasn’t a reasonable expectation.
“An exodus from class when issues of homosexuality or same-sex marriage are to be discussed could send the message that gays, lesbians, and the children of same-sex parents are inferior and, therefore, have a damaging effect on those students,” he opined.
“Under the Constitution public schools are entitled to teach anything that is reasonably related to the goals of preparing students to become engaged and productive citizens in our democracy,” the judge wrote. “Diversity is a hallmark of our nation. It is increasingly evident that our diversity includes differences in sexual orientation.”
And, he said, since history “includes instances of … official discrimination against gays and lesbians … it is reasonable for public educators to teach elementary school students … different sexual orientations.”
If they disagree, “the Parkers and Wirthlins may send their children to a private school …[or] may also educate their children at home,” the judge said.
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 6-year-old kindergartner. That despite a state law requiring such notification.
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