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Parental Rights Are Not ‘Dangerous’

September 12, 2023

“Dangerous.” “Offensive.” “Discrimination.”

New Jersey leftwing Attorney General Matt Platkin threw those words around in a recent interview as he attacked parents who are standing up for their rights in public schools. But it’s not just words. AG Platkin recently sued to stop parents from finding out what’s going on inside those schools, and he is going to extremes to stand between parents and their children. But the Goldwater Institute is fighting back on parents’ behalf in New Jersey and around the country, because parental rights aren’t “dangerous” — they’re a fundamental, constitutionally protected liberty.

Several New Jersey school boards adopted policies earlier this year to keep parents informed about changes in their children’s gender identity. After all, parents should be involved in important decisions involving minors. AG Platkin responded by suing the school boards for “discrimination.” That’s when the Goldwater Institute stepped in on behalf of a New Jersey mom of two, reminding the court that public schools are constitutionally required to keep parents informed about what’s happening to their kids in school

Now, AG Platkin is taking his assault on parental rights to the airwaves.

“I do think some things around these boards are being fueled by the national and state political dialogue,” he said in a recent radio interview. “It’s a dialogue that I think is dangerous. Again, I just find it offensive,” he added, before claiming that the parental notification policies “target our kids…to score cheap political points.”

Dangerous? Never mind that AG Platkin conveniently neglected to mention that the parental notification policies include built-in safeguards to ensure each situation is dealt with on a case-by-case basis and to balance a student’s needs with a parent’s rights.

Offensive? No, what’s offensive is keeping secrets from parents about their own children’s wellbeing. What’s offensive is the government attempting to replace parents as the primary raisers of kids. As Middletown mom of three Caterina Skalaski told the New York Post. “I do not, will not ever co-parent with the government.”

Cheap political points? Tell that to the 77 percent of New Jerseyans who think schools should keep parents informed about changes in their children’s gender identity. Tell it to concerned Middleton mom Laura Abt. “Everyone says this is a political battle between the left and the right. I’m not a political activist. I’m a mother trying to protect my two kids,” she says, “This isn’t anti-trans legislation. This is about parents’ rights.” (AG Platkin also failed to mention that he sent his lawyers to court to sue one school district less than 48 hours after the district adopted a parental notification policy! Talk about cheap political points.)

Or tell it to Amber Lavigne, a Maine mom whose rights Goldwater is defending after a school social worker encouraged her 13-year-old daughter in her gender transition, gave the child a chest-binder, and advised the student not to tell her parents. That mom, Amber, isn’t even a conservative; she’s a socially liberal registered Democrat who calls herself “a pretty open-minded person.” Yet Amber also says that ordeal has “ripped my family apart.”

One more thing: AG Platkin claims he’s in the right because the “law is the law.” But the highest law of the land, the U.S. Constitution, protects parents’ right to stay informed. In fact, both the U.S. and New Jersey Supreme Courts have consistently upheld parents’ fundamental right to control and direct the education, upbringing, and healthcare decisions of their children. But in order to meaningfully exercise that right, parents must be told when the government, including public school officials, make decisions that directly affect their children’s mental health or physical well-being.

In other words, the Constitution requires transparency, not secrecy.

But public school secrecy goes beyond gender transitions, too. In states like Rhode Island and Texas, Goldwater is helping concerned parents get the answers they deserve after school districts charged them thousands of dollars in public records fees to find out what’s going on in their kids’ schools.

Governments across the nation have launched an assault on the very concept of parenting, and on every single parent who dares to ask what’s going on in their children’s school.

It needs to end. They’re not the government’s kids.



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