Parental Rights

The Justice Foundation Supports Parental Rights in Education

We believe that parents have the fundamental right to direct the education and upbringing of their own children. Parental rights are fundamental to the family and a healthy culture. If no child is to be left behind, then no parent should be left out. The first step in recognizing parental rights is respecting and supporting their rightful role and their fundamental rights.

Parents’ fundamental rights to direct the upbringing and education of their children have been repeatedly recognized and protected by the United States Supreme Court. When creating the U.S. Department of Education, the United States Congress enacted statutory law that states “parents have the primary responsibility for the education of their children,” and that “states, localities, and private institutions have the primary responsibility for supporting that parental role.

Parents are the best protectors of children and have the natural right and duty to care for their children. We seek to protect governmental encroachment on parental authority. We oppose the evolution of children’s “rights,” which undermine parental rights and allow outsiders to usurp the natural and constitutional rights of parents. Children are naturally incapable of exercising self-government until reaching the age of majority.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.

EQUAL ACCESS LAW

The Equal Access Act is designed to ensure that, consistent with the First Amendment, student religious activities are accorded the same access to public school facilities as are student secular activities. Based on decisions of the federal courts, as well as its interpretations of the act, the Department of Justice has advised that the act should be interpreted as providing, among other things, that:

General provisions: Student religious groups at public secondary schools have the same right of access to school facilities as is enjoyed by other comparable student groups. Under the Equal Access Act, a school receiving federal funds that allows one or more student noncurriculum-related clubs to meet on its premises during noninstructional time may not refuse access to student religious groups.

Prayer services and worship exercises covered: A meeting, as defined and protected by the Equal Access Act, may include a prayer service, Bible reading, or other worship exercise.

Equal access to means of publicizing meetings: A school receiving federal funds must allow student groups meeting under the Act to use of school media—including the public address system, the school newspaper, and the school bulletin board—to announce their meetings on the same terms as other noncurriculum-related student groups are allowed to use the school media. Any policy concerning the use of school media must be applied to all noncurriculum-related student groups in a nondiscriminatory matter. Schools, however, may inform students that certain groups are not school sponsored.

Lunch-time and recess covered: A school creates a limited open forum under the Equal Access Act, triggering equal access rights for religious groups, when it allows students to meet during their lunch periods or other noninstructional time during the school day, as well as when it allows students to meet before and after the school day.

Equal Access Law
TITLE 20. CHAPTER 52 – SUBCHAPTER VIII § 4071
§ 4071. Denial of equal access prohibited

A. Restriction of limited open forum on basis of religious, political, philosophical, or other speech content prohibited

It shall be unlawful for any public secondary school which receives Federal financial assistance and which has a limited open forum to deny equal access or a fair opportunity to, or discriminate against, any students who wish to conduct a meeting within that limited open forum on the basis of the religious, political, philosophical, or other content of the speech at such meetings.

B. “Limited open forum” defined

A public secondary school has a limited open forum whenever such school grants an offering to or opportunity for one or more noncurriculum related student groups to meet on school premises during noninstructional time.

C. Fair opportunity criteria

Schools shall be deemed to offer a fair opportunity to students who wish to conduct a meeting within its limited open forum if such school uniformly provides that—

  1. the meeting is voluntary and student-initiated;
  2. there is no sponsorship of the meeting by the school, the government, or its agents or employees;
  3. employees or agents of the school or government are present at religious meetings only in a nonparticipatory capacity;
  4. the meeting does not materially and substantially interfere with the orderly conduct of educational activities within the school; and
  5. nonschool persons may not direct, conduct, control, or regularly attend activities of student groups.

D. Construction of subchapter with respect to certain rights

Nothing in this subchapter shall be construed to authorize the United States or any State or political subdivision thereof—

  1. to influence the form or content of any prayer or other religious activity;
  2. to require any person to participate in prayer or other religious activity;
  3. to expend public funds beyond the incidental cost of providing the space for student-initiated meetings;
  4. to compel any school agent or employee to attend a school meeting if the content of the speech at the meeting is contrary to the beliefs of the agent or employee;
  5. to sanction meetings that are otherwise unlawful;
  6. to limit the rights of groups of students which are not of a specified numerical size; or
  7. to abridge the constitutional rights of any person.

E. Federal financial assistance to schools unaffected

Notwithstanding the availability of any other remedy under the Constitution or the laws of the United States, nothing in this subchapter shall be construed to authorize the United States to deny or withhold Federal financial assistance to any school.

Nothing in this subchapter shall be construed to limit the authority of the school, its agents or employees, to maintain order and discipline on school premises, to protect the well-being of students and faculty, and to assure that attendance of students at meetings is voluntary.

F. Authority of schools with respect to order, discipline, well-being, and attendance concerns

Nothing in this subchapter shall be construed to limit the authority of the school, its agents or employees, to maintain order and discipline on school premises, to protect the well-being of students and faculty, and to assure that attendance of students at meetings is voluntary.

Source: U.S. Education Code