A Massachusetts middle school passed a new policy yesterday, changing its “passive consent” system for parents — who might be concerned about sexually explicit surveys administered to students — to one that ensures they will only be given to students whose parents have given express written consent.
Arlene Tessitore and The Rutherford Institute, a civil liberties law firm, filed a federal lawsuit in June against the Fitchburg City School Committee. Tessitore’s two daughters were told they had to complete a survey asking about their sexual thoughts and birth control practices. The school said parents had been sent an “opt-out” form; without that, parents were assumed to have given their consent. Tessitore said she never received any form, and was appalled by the questions her daughters were asked.
The school’s new policy brings it into compliance with the federal Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment.
... “This is a huge victory for parental rights,” said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute. “Parents are the ones who should decide whether they want their children to be mined for information about their personal thoughts, beliefs or practices. We take it seriously when government officials try to short-circuit that essential parent-child relationship.”