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Home Schooling & Parental Rights: Don't Let America Become Brazil
By Michael Farris
November 8, 2011
Home Schooling & Parental Rights: Don't Let America Become Brazil (Nov. 8, 2011)
Forward courtesy of Dr Charles Morris
Home School Legal Defense Association
Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:
A chilling report from Brazil should serve as a warning* to all American parents. Recent events reveal what happens when a nation abandons its traditional constitutional standard of parental rights and adopts the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
"We must not be the last generation of American parents who are truly free to raise our children."
On October 19, the Education and Culture Committee of the Chamber of Representatives in Brazil unanimously rejected a bill that would have legalized homeschooling in that country. Families who dare to homeschool in Brazil are prosecuted and kept under government surveillance
according to a recent story by Julio Severo on LifeSiteNews.com.
Severo's article traces the text of the Brazilian constitution which contained provisions in the 1937, 1946 and 1967 versions that specifically affirmed the home as a place of education for children. However, the 1988 constitution quietly removed these provisions at the behest of "leftist politicians," according to Severo.
This Brazilian journalist exposes the role that the United Nations Children's Rights Convention (CRC) has played in this attack on fundamental parental rights.
[An]other serious threat to the families' rights in the education of their children has been the Child and Adolescent Statute (CAS), which is a direct product of the United Nations Children's Rights Convention. CAS imposes many state interferences in the Brazilian families and their children, especially in the educational and health issues. CAS has been used by the Child Protective Services of Brazil to enforce the state ban on homeschooling, harass families and their children and put them under legal hardships.
Finally, Severo calls for a new constitutional provision for Brazil to restore the traditional protection of parental rights in education.
Eroding Legal Support
The parallels to the United States are unmistakable. The rights of parents to direct the education of their children were traditionally recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court as a high-level constitutional right. However, recent decisions of the Court have undermined that traditional standard and have unleashed a flood of federal appellate cases declaring that parental rights are lower-level rights which may be easily overridden by the government. Justice Scalia heads the list of jurists who have proclaimed that parental rights are not legally protected at all.
At the same time, *there are twin pressures on the United States to adopt the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.* The Obama administration has repeatedly called for the ratification of this dangerous treaty which would supersede all state laws about families---including homeschooling statutes and laws which give parents control over the medical decisions of their children. The Supreme Court and lower federal courts have shown an increasing tendency to employ this UN treaty as valid legal precedent despite the fact it has never been ratified by the Senate.
We must not be the last generation of American parents who are truly free to raise our children.
Send a Message
It is time to tell Congress to stop stealing our children's future. It is bad enough that they have buried our children and grandchildren in debt for tomorrow so that they can buy votes today.
We cannot sit by and watch America become Brazil. *We cannot passively tolerate the erosion of our constitutional rights* while the courts and
the diplomats conspire to force us into a regime of international law.
We must fight groups like the ACLU and Planned Parenthood, who have attacked the Parental Rights Amendment. And we must educate those we
would call friends who simply fail to recognize the absolute imperative of protecting the traditional sovereignty of the American family. These
other groups have millions while ParentalRights.Org's annual budget is under $500,000.
*Despite ParentalRights.Org's tiny budget, it is the organization that successfully prevented ratification of the CRC.* However, it has only
stopped it for this term of Congress. The only permanent solution to all of the threats we face is the Parental Rights Amendment.
I urge you to do three things.
*First, call both of your U.S. senators* and urge them to become original co-sponsors of the Parental Rights Amendment. Senator Jim
DeMint from South Carolina has agreed to be the lead sponsor.
*Second, call your representative* in Congress and urge him or her to become an original co-sponsor of the Parental Rights Amendment. Rep.
Trent Franks from Arizona, who chairs the Constitution Sub-Committee, has agreed to be the lead sponsor.
*Third, please make a generous donation<http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=12802>* of $50, $100, or even $500 to Parentalrights.org. Whatever you can give will sustain our efforts in this crucial time.
What you do today will determine the future for generations to come. Will we have a family-based culture? Or will we, like Brazil, turn all
decision-making over to government officials who think they know best?
It is urgent that you act right now. Important meetings are taking place in Congress even as I write that will affect the Amendment. Please don't
close this email or webpage before you pick up the phone and call.
America or Brazil? It's your time to act.
Parental Rights in Danger - Pass It On!
Things are getting ready to break wide open in the next few weeks. You may already be aware of Overruled, the new 30-minute docudrama about parental rights scheduled for release on November 1. But there are also developments in Congress that should lead to some big news very soon.
In the meantime, here are some quotes and stories to consider and pass along. Every American should care about parental rights. Those who don’t simply aren’t paying attention to some of the things going on in our country. Consider:
In 2005, the U.S. Ninth Circuit “affirm[ed] that the Meyer-Pierce [fundamental parental] right does not extend beyond the threshold of the school door.” They also held that “[p]arents…have no constitutional right…to prevent a public school from providing its students with whatever information it wishes to provide, sexual or otherwise, when and as the school determines that it is appropriate to do so.”1
In 2007, the federal District Court for the district of Massachusetts held that “Parents do have a fundamental right to raise their children. They are not required to abandon that responsibility to the state. [They] may send their children to a private school…. They may also educate their children at home.”2 So, sending a child to public school is in this paragraph equated to “abandoning your parental rights to the state.”
In 2008, the Maryland Board of Education announced, “While we recognize the right of parents to direct the education of their children, we must bend their will to the state’s obligation to educate its citizens.”
Nor do such problems exist only for parents with kids in public schools.
In Roper v. Simmons (2005), and in Graham v. Florida and Sullivan v. Florida (2010), the Supreme Court overthrew the laws of Texas and of Florida, writing, “the Court has referred to the laws of other countries and to the international authorities as instructive for its interpretation of the [U.S. Constitution].”3 In both instances, they applied the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child to United States law, though we have not yet ratified this dangerous treaty.
Last year, a judge in Philadelphia cited the concept of “Customary International Law” in applying an optional protocol to the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child to a federal court case. And the number of judges applying international standards in our courts seems to be increasing.
Daytime curfews around the country threaten the right of home-schooled and private-schooled children to move freely in public without harassment from law officers during public school hours. California just passed a law allowing children as young as 12 to consent to the Gardasil vaccine without parental knowledge or consent. Minnesota already allows the same thing. In Virginia, the vaccine is even mandated by law, the state having made the decision in parents’ stead.
It seems every week brings more violations of parents’ liberty to make decisions for the good of their children. It almost makes President Reagan’s words sound prophetic: “We will spend our twilight years telling our grandchildren what it was like to live in America when men were free.”
But we are not doomed to that yet. In fact, I expect to bring very good news next week, news of our efforts to turn back the tide by adopting the Parental Rights Amendment.
Until then, pass the word, sound the alarm, and urge your friends to sign up at parentalrights.org/petition.
Dir. of Communications & Research
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