A recent article in the New York Daily News raises questions about parental involvement in public school education.
According to the article, a teacher at Public School 184 in Manhattan showed a video about abortion to her fifth-grade dance class without prior parental notice. The video appears to have been created with a pro-life purpose in mind. It reportedly “features seven adolescents…standing on stage, voicing their interpretation of a fetus’ thoughts as it grows in the womb. The theatrical climax comes when the fetus is going to be terminated.” Following the video, the teacher reportedly informed the class that an abortion occurs when a doctor “gives a mother ‘a shot to kill the baby.’”
Parents objected to the video being shown without their consent. One concerned parent pointed out that his child was innocent and still believed in Santa Claus. The matter is being investigated.
That is why New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms has opposed the so-called Healthy Teens Act for many years. The Healthy Teens Act (Bill S.1030-Rivera/A.1083-Gottfried) would create a dedicated state funding stream for “age-appropriate” sex education to be conducted by Planned Parenthood and like-minded groups in public schools. At New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, we have very little confidence in New York State’s judgment about what constitutes “age-appropriate” sex education. We have even less confidence that public schools would make parents aware of the sex education to be provided under the Healthy Teens Act.
Here’s the bottom line: If public schools address controversial issues like sexuality, faith, and abortion at all, they should do so with care and sensitivity and should make sure that parents are kept fully informed.