ACLU threatens Utah school for requiring parental consent to check out homosexual book
FARMINGTON, Utah, June 27, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has threatened a Utah school district for ensuring parents consent to their children reading a homosexual advocacy book, prompting pro-family lawyers to respond in their defense.
The book was first noticed in January when a mother complained that her kindergarten-age son child brought home “In Our Mothers’ House” from Windridge Elementary School, sparking a petition signed by 25 parents in protest. The book, which tells a story about children who are being raised by a lesbian couple, was placed behind the library counter after an April parent-teacher committee decided the book didn’t comport with state law barring homosexual advocacy in the school curriculum.
A spokesperson for the district, Chris Williams, said the school librarian had purchased the book in part to foster inclusion of one student who is being raised by a lesbian couple, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
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In a June 12 letter to the Davis School District superintendent, ACLU of Utah legal director John Mejia criticized the consent policy, saying the group had “serious concerns about whether these actions comport with the First Amendment rights of the students in the district.” Mejia cited U.S. district court opinions that interpreted Supreme Court precedent as disallowing school libraries from having “unfettered discretion” in removing materials promoting homosexuality from their shelves.
The letter also disagreed that the book violated state law, saying the law applied only to health curriculum. Even so, Mejia said, “it would be a stretch to say that it ‘advocates homosexuality.’”
The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) sent a letter Friday in support of the school’s policy, pointing out that officials had not actually removed the book, but only ensured parental consent.
“Parents have the ‘fundamental right’ to ‘direct the upbringing and education of children under their control.’ The District is right to leave such decisions to them,” states the ADF letter. “It is ‘established beyond debate’ that ‘parents have the primary role…in the upbringing of their children.’”
“Public schools should not surrender to ACLU intimidation when it asks them to expose children to sexual content without parental knowledge,” said ADF Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco in a statement Tuesday.
“The law clearly upholds the right and duty of schools to protect children and respect the role of their parents.”