Writing in response to this post, a reader has another view about the rights and responsibilities of parents:
|I’m not satisfied with the way this question is being framed; sometimes just taking an opposing stance to a bad argument isn’t correct.Although parents don’t always “know what’s best” for their child, there is overall no safer repository for the child’s rights and interests than in their hands. Guardianship is a fundamental obligation of parents, as much as a “right”. The first principle for legal defense of children is respect for their families, because there actually isn’t anywhere children can be put which is capable of meeting their needs, or is safer for them. Sometimes the law has to step in and override the parent’s obligations, in instances of parental neglect or abuse, but that’s a grave step, which calls for utmost diligence and many counter-checks to prevent abuse by careless authority. Most parents I know would give their lives for their child, and call it a bargain.
The question of authority in the schools must be framed in those terms. Is psychoactive medication “best” for my child, even if it makes him easier to handle at school? Do the district’s attendance policies warrant their filing a legal CHINS order, and removing my child from her family?
My own district once threatened to file a CHINS on a sixteen year old student of mine, with cerebral palsy, because her mother failed to get her down the stairs in time to meet the scheduled pickup stops when the girl had her period. The solution of modifying the bus pickup schedule would have been too expensive, so this accomplished and delightful child was quaking in shame and terror, afraid of being taken from her low-income immigrant family and consigned to a group home.
Here is this morning’s heart-searing update on the inhuman “school to prison pipeline” professionals determined was best for Mississippi children:
Let’s refine our analysis, so we hold to the concept that professional educators can offer a public program that meets the needs of children and the obligations of society to assure a solid program. If parents find it fails their child, lets give them respectful recourse to the courts to modify the offering.
On the other hand, if parents wish for specific private facilities for their child’s education, they don’t have any automatic right to demand tax revenue to support that program. Within that framework, exceptions can be individually crafted. I would have been prepared to testify for my own students special need, if my district hadn’t relented.