Parental Rights in Public School: Quickly Disappearing.

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Parental Rights in Pub­lic School: Quick­ly Disappearing.

Graphic comes from a Walton County (GA) School District power point discussing truancy,

Graph­ic comes from a Wal­ton Coun­ty (GA) School Dis­trict pow­er point dis­cussing truancy,

Par­ents are increas­ing­ly con­cerned that pub­lic school admin­is­tra­tors are super­sed­ing the legal author­i­ty par­ents have in their child’s life. Mis­souri par­ents were sur­prised to learn that their direc­tives for their chil­dren not to use com­put­ers at school or no parental per­mis­sion allow­ing stu­dent com­put­er use were ignored by some school dis­tricts. Approval for chil­dren to use com­put­ers was grant­ed by super­in­ten­dents or oth­er admin­is­tra­tors over direc­tives of par­ents via pol­i­cy adopt­ed by the school dis­trict. This pol­i­cy was writ­ten by a pri­vate NGO, the Mis­souri School Board Asso­ci­a­tion:

Jill Carter of Gran­by MO tes­ti­fied about a Tech­nol­o­gy Usage Agree­ment giv­en to her son for her sig­na­ture. A casu­al read of the doc­u­ment seemed to indi­cate that a par­ent had to give per­mis­sion for a child to use tech­nol­o­gy (com­put­er, email, inter­net etc.) in the classroom.

No stu­dent will be giv­en access to the district’s tech­nol­o­gy resources until the dis­trict receives User Agree­ments signed by the stu­dent and the student’s parent/guardian. Stu­dents who are 18 or who are oth­er­wise able to enter into an enforce­able con­tract may sign the User Agree­ment with­out addi­tion­al signatures”

How­ev­er, upon dis­cov­er­ing that her son was in fact using the school’s com­put­ers even though she had refused to sign the TUA, she inves­ti­gat­ed the whole Usage agree­ment which also stated:

Stu­dents who do not have a User Agree­ment on file with the dis­trict may be grant­ed per­mis­sion to use the district’s tech­nol­o­gy resources by the super­in­ten­dent or designee“

So basi­cal­ly, par­ents have no abil­i­ty to con­trol their child’s access to tech­nol­o­gy or the inter­net in class­room. The school’s designee can always trump the parent’s wish­es. This is bad enough. Then she read the lan­guage at the bot­tom of the policy:

A user does not have a legal expec­ta­tion of pri­va­cy in the user’s elec­tron­ic com­mu­ni­ca­tions or oth­er activ­i­ties involv­ing the district’s tech­nol­o­gy resources includ­ing, but not lim­it­ed to, voice mail, telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions, e‑mail and access to the intranet, Inter­net or net­work dri­ves. By using the district’s net­work and tech­nol­o­gy resources, all users con­sent to hav­ing their elec­tron­ic com­mu­ni­ca­tions and all oth­er use mon­i­tored by the district.”

A school board mem­ber from anoth­er dis­trict also tes­ti­fied that she dis­cov­ered this same lan­guage in her own district’s tech­nol­o­gy usage pol­i­cy. No sur­prise. The lan­guage has been copy­right­ed to the Mis­souri School Board Asso­ci­a­tion and is wide­ly used by dis­tricts all over the state. Check your district’s pol­i­cy. It’s prob­a­bly the same.

School admin­is­tra­tors are becom­ing the author­i­ty in deter­min­ing whether or not your child is marked as an ‘excused’ or ‘unex­cused’ absence in data sets.  Atten­dance poli­cies have been tight­ened up by the dis­tricts due to waiv­er con­di­tions Arne Dun­can has grant­ed for NCLB relief and to meet the ‘col­lege and career ready’ goals via MSIP5.  Remem­ber this notice from Fran­cis How­ell and unex­cused absences?francishowellnurse-crop-560x490-1-540x473

Watch for the sub­tle lan­guage change about unex­cused absences mov­ing into the realm of unlaw­ful absences in Penn­syl­va­nia.  This was sup­plied by a par­ent of a kindergartner:


So even if your stu­dent does not attend school (regard­less of aca­d­e­m­ic stand­ing or parental deci­sion), if the state deter­mines it is unex­cused, it is now unlaw­ful.  If your child racks up too many of these state decid­ed unlawful/unexcused absences, get ready to appear in Fam­i­ly Court.  From the parent:

This is less about the teach­ing and more about con­trol­ling policies.

While that par­tic­u­lar lan­guage (unex­cused vs unlaw­ful) has not been pro­vid­ed to us by a Mis­souri par­ent, we do know that a par­ent was sum­moned to appear in Fam­i­ly Court to answer why her ter­mi­nal­ly ill child was miss­ing too much school.


The Mis­souri Con­sti­tu­tion directs the state pro­vide a ‘free and gra­tu­itous’ edu­ca­tion.  The pro­vi­sion of edu­ca­tion deliv­ery with puni­tive mea­sures isn’t real­ly ‘free and gra­tu­itous’.  Pub­lic edu­ca­tion has become a maze of increas­ing man­dates which actu­al­ly take away the rights and lib­er­ties of parents:

free-public-schools-540x149The pol­i­cy giv­ing the State author­i­ty over parental deci­sions for their chil­dren is a total­i­tar­i­an edu­ca­tion­al struc­ture, not a struc­ture designed to pro­vide a free and gra­tu­itous form of edu­ca­tion to teach stu­dents about their rights as cit­i­zens.  When the rights of the par­ents are destroyed and are the deci­sions for chil­dren rests in the hands of the State, the sys­tem allow­ing the State unmit­i­gat­ed pow­er must be destroyed.  It can­not be repaired.  Either par­ents can be trust­ed to make the best deci­sions for their child with­out the heavy hand­ed bureau­crat­ic and puni­tive rules of schools the par­ents are com­pelled to sup­port or the sys­tem must be changed.