Parental Rights

October 25, 1996 • Volume 6, Issue 40
Are new laws needed to empower parents?
By Thomas J. Billitteri

Introduction

Conservative lawmakers and the Religious Right say liberal bureaucrats, courts and legislators have usurped parents' authority over their children. They have mounted an aggressive campaign to win new parental rights guarantees in state constitutions and federal law. On Nov. 5, Coloradans will vote on a constitutional amendment giving parents the “inalienable” right “to direct and control the upbringing, education, values and discipline of their children.” Sponsors in 27 other states are pushing similar amendments, and parental rights legislation has been introduced in Congress. A broad coalition of opponents argues that parental rights laws are dangerous and unnecessary. Such laws would not only put children at new risk for abuse, they say, but also throw schools into gridlock and lead to costly lawsuits.

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