The following is excerpted from Reason. To read the full article, CLICK HERE

In Tatel v. Mt. Lebanon Sch. Dist. (W.D. Pa.), decided yesterday, Judge Joy Flowers Conti concluded that the Third Circuit (the federal appellate court that covers Pennsylvania) recognizes some parental rights over the control of their children’s education even in public schools:

{[P]arents, not schools, have the primary responsibility to inculcate moral standards, religious beliefs, and elements of good citizenship in their children. With respect to important matters that strike at the heart of parenting (such as inculcation of religious beliefs or teachings contrary to the parents’ religious beliefs), the fundamental rights of parents might override the interests of a public school; the school would need to show its actions are narrowly tailored to achieve a compelling interest.

At issue here are whether Parents have a right to expect that first-grade teachers will not expose their impressionable young children to sensitive gender identity topics against the parents’ instructions; will not tell children that parents make mistakes about important matters such as their children’s identity; will not tell children the teacher would never lie (implying that their parents may lie about a child’s identity); will not advise children they may dress or be groomed as a different gender; and will not tell children not to talk to their parents about what they learn in school about those topics.}

I’m skeptical about claims of parents’ constitutional right to opt out from parts of public school curricula (and about K-12 teachers’ claims of a constitutional right to include in their teaching things that the school doesn’t want them to include); I think all those decisions should generally be left to the political process. (Establishment Clause precedents make this complicated when it comes to religious speech, and there’s some First Amendment right for students to be free from some kinds of compelled speech, such as pledges of allegiance and the like, but those are separate matters.) Still, I think this is an important decision that’s worth noting. From the court’s discussion of the facts:

The parents allege that their children’s first-grade teacher, with the permission of the public school district, pursued her own agenda outside the curriculum, which included showing videos or reading books about transgender topics and telling the first-grade students in her class (ages six and seven years old) to keep her discussions with them about transgender topics secret from their parents.

To read the full article, CLICK HERE