In Loco Parentis Gone Too Far

  Last fall, Debra Loveless received an announcement from her daughter's school: The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, or GLSEN, planned to conduct two assemblies. GLSEN claims these seminars are aimed at "preventing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender/identity expression in K-12 schools." Mrs. Loveless requested school officials at Metro High School to exempt her daughter from attending because of her religious beliefs, and they granted her request. Later, at the invitation of a school board member, Mrs. Loveless herself attempted to see what was being taught in the assemblies. But when she arrived at the school, an armed security guard ushered her back out, saying school officials wanted her to leave the school grounds -- astonishing! What would Loveless have witnessed had she not been ordered to leave? Well, a conference GLSEN held at Tufts University in March 2000 provides a picture. Workshops at the conference, attended by both teachers and teens, included "From Lesbos to Stonewall: Incorporating Sexuality into a World History Curriculum" and "Early Childhood Educators: How to Decide Whether to Come Out or Not." The Weekly Standard magazine reported about a workshop entitled "What They Didn't Tell You About Queer Sex and Sexuality in Health Class: A Workshop for Youth Only, Aged 14 to 21." In it Michael Gaucher of the Massachusetts public health agency asked kids how they knew whether they had sex. One student asked whether oral sex counted. Gaucher responded, "If that's not sex, then the number of times I've had sex has dramatically decreased, from a mountain to a valley!" Clearly, GLSEN's agenda is more than simply teaching kids to get along with one another. And parents ought to know precisely what their kids are learning in school. Considering the content of past GLSEN assemblies, Loveless was right to be concerned and pull her daughter out. And as a citizen, she also had a right to know what was going on -- to see with her own eyes without being ejected by an armed guard. The American Center for Law and Justice has filed suit on behalf of Loveless, asking for an injunction to prevent school officials from prohibiting parents from attending school assemblies, regardless of whether their child is present or not. Metro High School has taken its role of acting in loco parentis much too far -- usurping the rights of parents to know what their kids are learning. As Francis Manion, senior counsel for the ACLJ, put it, "Parents do not abandon their rights as parents once their children go to school. Parents have a right to know what a school is teaching their children and should not be punished for exercising their parental responsibilities." Further, Manion contends, Loveless was not allowed to observe the GLSEN assembly "because the school did not like her religious objections." After being kicked out, she wants to ensure other parents won't ever be treated as she was -- brushed aside as a nuisance. As far as I'm concerned, parents definitely ought to make nuisances of themselves when schools are secretive about what they're teaching students. After all, our tax dollars are paying for it and, more than that, we -- not the schools -- are ultimately responsible for our kids. For further reading: "ACLJ Files Federal Suit Against St. Louis School Superintendent After Parent Prevented from Observing School-Sponsored Assembly Focusing on Homosexuality," ACLJ press release, 10 May 2002. Holly K. Hacker, "Mom ejected from school assembly sues," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 11 May 2002. Matt Pyeatt, "Mom Sues Over Ejection from School Assembly on Homosexuality," CNS NEWS, 13 May 2002. Read a full report on GLSEN's controversial 2000 conference.


Chuck Colson


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