Contact: Mat Staver - 407-875-2100
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 29, 2005
Parents Ask Ninth Circuit to Rehear Sex Survey Case
Liberty Counsel filed a petition requesting the entire Ninth Circuit to rehear the case
San Francisco, CA - On behalf of seven parents, Liberty Counsel filed a petition with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to set aside its ruling in the sex survey case and to rehear the matter before the full panel of judges.
In Fields v. Palmdale School District, the Ninth Circuit ruled that parental rights stop at the "threshold of the school door." Other than the prevention of treason, the court said that parents have no constitutional right to object to a sex survey given to children as young as seven. The survey required a "Yes" or "No" answer to questions such as: "Can't stop thinking about sex."
The petition describes the ruling as one of exceptional importance to parents and children. If the ruling stands, the petition states that public schools must come with a warning: "CAUTION! Your parental rights are severed when you drop your child off at school. You will have no input whatsoever or right to object to any instruction or materials, sexual or otherwise, presented to your child during the school day. With the exception of treason, the school has absolute authority to teach whatever it decides, no matter how objectionable or inappropriate, to any child, at any age, at any time, in any manner."
The petition also states: "No one believes when a child is dropped off at day care, soccer practice, or summer camp that parents cease being parents. Yet, the panel concluded that parents cease being parents during the school day. The panel made the PTA pointless. While parents may object to teaching seven-year-old Susie from a sex manual, as long as the school does not commit treason, the panel's decision says: "Parents - keep your mouth shut. Susie belongs to the school. So get lost!" The breadth of this decision is staggering. It presents an issue of exceptional importance."
Mathew D. Staver, President and General Counsel of Liberty Counsel, stated: "The Ninth Circuit's ruling strips parents of their constitutional rights to protect their children. We are hopeful that the full panel of judges will set aside this sex survey case and rehear the matter. Parental involvement in the education of their children should be encouraged, not punished. This ruling is an assault on every parent whose child attends public school. Parents do not cease being parents when their child walks through the schoolhouse gate."
There is no set timetable for the Ninth Circuit to rule on the petition for rehearing en banc.