School Board Fires Teacher Over Inappropriate Sex-Ed Class

Aug 8, 2006

Milliken, CO - The board of a charter school has now voted to dismiss a teacher after receiving a letter from Liberty Counsel pointing out that the teacher violated Steve and Deanne Aochi's parental rights by ignoring a request to excuse their daughter from a graphic discussion about sex.

The Aochi's daughter, Haley, attends Knowledge Quest Academy. Mrs. Aochi requested that her daughter be excused from sex education instruction. However, based on a conversation with physical education teacher Joel Chase, Mrs. Aochi believed that the school required her daughter to complete a sex education test. Mrs. Aochi completed the test with her daughter, but they did not answer several questions that Mrs. Aochi believed inappropriate for a 13-year-old seventh grader. Mrs. Aochi also requested that Haley be excused from any discussion of the test. Mr. Chase expressly ignored the request and led the class in a discussion of sexual practices, reproduction, and his personal views on dating. He even tried to convince Haley to change answers on the test she completed with her mother to reflect his own viewpoint.

In a letter to the school on behalf of the Aochi family, Liberty Counsel requested the Board take appropriate and immediate action to ensure no further violations of parental rights. The Board promptly responded by dismissing the teacher.

Parents have an interest protected by the Constitution to direct the education of their children. In addition, when certain educational requirements directly collide with the sincerely-held religious beliefs of parents, schools must demonstrate a compelling justification for refusing to accommodate the parents' desire for an opt-out from sex education classes.

Anita Staver, President of Liberty Counsel, commented: "The right of parents to educate their own children according to their religious and moral objectives is of paramount importance. The Aochis are pleased that the school board took swift and appropriate action by dismissing the teacher who tried to indoctrinate their daughter with his own views on dating and sexual practices. Teachers must understand that they are not de facto parents."