Sunday, February 25, 2007

MA - gay marriage -- federal judge dismisses suit by parents against school

On February 23 te AP reported at a federal judge in Massachusetts had dismissed a lawsuit brought by parents against a school district when a kindergarten student took home a book depicting a gay family. The judge ruled that instruction in school districts about controversial topics is not presumed to usurp a parent's rights to enforce the parents' own private moral views at home within the family (the libertarian concept).

Here is The Washington Blade blog entry.

The presence of the Internet and search engines is making this kind of effort by parents a red herring. Kids can find legitimate information, even developed in a professional manner in university environments, on the Internet. Presumably ordinary filters are unlikely to remove such information if academic in nature (and such information "in the open" would probably remain legal even if COPA were upheld). The development of content labels might make it easier for determined parents to keep such subjects away from their kids.

My main blog on COPA and content filters is here.

Vermont: Parents oppose anti-bullying workshop proposed by gay group

A related story on Feb 23 depicted parents at a rural Vermont high school (Mississquoi Valley High School at Swanton, VT) objecting to a school board plan to include workshops (partially sponsored by Outright Vermont) on anti-gay bullying. Conservative talk show hosts called such programs "recruitment." The story is here.

In northern Virginia, which is more liberal than the rest of the state, reaction to Gay-Straight Alliances varies from one high school to the next, as different neighorboods or communities and school administrators can vary on this issue quite a bit. In a large school district, like Fairfax County, administrators have some discretion to handle issues like this as they see fit. Generally, compared to other parts of the country, there is not a track record of many serious incidents (at least as reported in the media, which tends to be very diligent) targeting gay students.

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