Anatomy of the breakdown of a law
A first in America: Lexington, Mass. Superintendent of Schools orders
NO notice to parents on teaching homosexual relationships, even in elementary
Cites (flawed) interpretation of Mass. Parental Notification Law (which WE
wrote and got passed).
How the state law designed to protect children and parents from
the sexual/homosexual agenda is now used against them - through
state bureaucratic subterfuge and the dishonesty and arrogance of
In 1995, Parents Rights Coalition, the forerunner of Article 8
Alliance, drafted and helped thousands of parents lobby for the
Parental Notification Law. It was passed by the Legislature and
signed by Gov. Bill Weld in 1996. It saddens and angers us that
this law is being misused by public officials in such a terrible
1. Parent arrested in Lexington, Mass. Governor and others react.
This outrageous situation is the result of an equally outrageous incident
that took place several months earlier in Lexington.
On April 27, 2005, Lexington, MA, parent David Parker was
arrested and taken to jail over his request that he be notified,
and given the opt-out option, when adults discussed homosexuality
or transgenderism with his 6-year-old son in Kindergarten. At issue
in particular were discussions of homosexual relationships being
equivalent to a child's mother and father.
The following day, Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney made the following
statement on television, regarding the Parker incident:
"We have in Massachusetts a parental notification statute
specifically in matters related to human sexuality. If a parent
wants to be informed of what is being taught in a classroom and
wants to have their child withdrawn from the classroom for that
portion of the class dealing with human sexuality, that parent has
Read the law for yourself:
CHAPTER 71. PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Chapter 71 Section 32A: Sex education; policy regarding notice
to parents, exception
Section 32A. Every city, town, regional school district or
vocational school district implementing or maintaining curriculum
which primarily involves human sexual education or human sexuality
issues shall adopt a policy ensuring parental/guardian
notification. Such policy shall afford parents or guardians the
flexibility to exempt their children from any portion of said
curriculum through written notification to the school principal. No
child so exempted shall be penalized by reason of such exemption.
Said policy shall be in writing, formally adopted by the school
committee as a school district policy and distributed by September
first, nineteen hundred and ninety-seven, and each year thereafter
to each principal in the district. A copy of each school district's
policy must be sent to the department of education after adoption.
To the extent practicable, program instruction materials for
said curricula shall be made reasonably accessible to parents,
guardians, educators, school administrators, and others for
inspection and review.
The department of education shall promulgate regulations for
adjudicatory proceedings to resolve any and all disputes arising
under this section.
The incident was reported extensively in the local media, and
also made national news. Parents in Lexington and elsewhere
2. Superintendent announces that no notice will be given to
parents on teaching about homosexual relationships in school.
On September 20, 2005, in a move unprecedented in America, Lexington superintendent Paul Ash issued a statement that
the town will not give parents the right of notification about teaching about homosexual
relationships in the schools. This was subsequently published in
the local newspaper.
What does the law say schools have to do?
By Paul Ash
Superintendent of Schools, Lexington, MA
Published in the Lexington Minuteman
Thursday, September 22, 2005
Over the summer, I have received a number of questions about
implementation of Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 71, Section
32A ("Section 32A"). These questions relate to the following
Every city, town, regional school district or vocational school
district implementing or maintaining curriculum which primarily
involves human sexual education or human sexual issues shall adopt
a policy ensuring parental/guardian notification. Such policy shall
afford parents or guardians the flexibility to exempt their
children from any portion of said curriculum through written
notification to the school principal.
[Article 8 Note: The actual statute language says "human sexuality
issues" not "human sexual issues."]
In Lexington, curriculum identified by the statute generally
begins at the fifth-grade level. LPS [Lexington Public Schools] has, of course, adopted a
policy implementing Section 32A, and school staff routinely provide
parents with notice and the flexibility to "opt out" of this
Recently, questions have been raised as to whether school staff
also has an obligation to notify parents and allow "opt out" of
other school-based activities, particularly in the elementary
grades. For example, some parents have requested they be notified
whenever their child has access to any material, conversation, or
activity that acknowledges differences in sexual orientation,
including any reference to families with same-gender parents.
Since elementary curriculum often elicits discussion of family
experiences, such references certainly may occur. In addition, our
schools routinely provide students with access to materials,
activities, and discussions that recognize diversity. This access
is designed to assist us in our goal of maintaining an appropriate
and respectful educational environment for all students. As
required by law and LPS policy, this environment must be free of
discrimination based on race, gender, color, religion, sexual
orientation, national origin and disability.
The Massachusetts Department of Education, which is responsible
for administering Section 32A, has explained that activities and
materials designed to promote tolerance and respect for
individuals, including recognition of differences in sexual
orientation "without further instruction on the physical and sexual
implications" do not trigger the notice and opt out provisions of
Section 32A. Under this standard, staff has no obligation to notify
parents of discussions, activities, or materials that simply
reference same-gender parents or that otherwise recognize the
existence of differences in sexual orientation. Accordingly, I
expect teachers to continue to allow children access to such
activities and materials to the extent appropriate to children's
ages, to district goals of respecting diversity, and to the
As this new school year begins, I look forward to working with
the Lexington community to provide a positive educational
environment for all students.
Click here for
Adobe Acrobat version of press release and newspaper article.
Ash stated that per his order, "staff has no obligation to
notify parents of discussions, activities, or materials that simply
reference same-gender parents or that otherwise recognize the
existence of differences in sexual orientation." In other words,
homosexual relationships ("same-gender parents") taught to kids do
not need parental notification. This appears to be a direct
contradiction to Gov. Romney's earlier statement to the public.
He also uses weasel words: "I expect teachers to continue to
allow children access to such activities and materials to the
extent appropriate to children's ages, to district goals of
respecting diversity, and to the curriculum."
Just who decides what is appropriate to children's ages? Who
decides what the goals respecting "diversity" should be? In Ash's
mind, it's the school bureaucrats, not parents, who make these
decisions for children!
3. Superintendent seeks official opinion from Department of
Education on application of parental notification law to use as argument.
To come to this conclusion, Ash cited a previous decision by the
Massachusetts Department of Education (DOE). We called Ash's office and had them fax
us their document. We also called the Dept. of Education, and they faxed
us the same document.
The current law leaves it up to the DOE to
have regulations in place to adjudicate issues between parents and
school systems regarding this law. But in fact, these regulations act
as logjams to wear parents down. What actually happens is that parents
beg the Department, by letters or in person, to force the schools
to apply the law properly. Commissioner Driscoll looks over the
evidence and personally acts as judge and jury.
Unfortunately, DOE Commissioner David
Driscoll is not exactly unbiased on this issue. Driscoll is a long-time enthusiastic supporter of homosexual programs in the public
schools. He has cooperated with and encouraged GLSEN and the Governor's Commission
for Gay and Lesbian Youth on extra-curricular homosexual events for
Over the last few years, Driscoll and the DOE have steadily
used decisions to erode the law, in letter and spirit, by changing
the meaning of the English language. Thus, the discussion of
homosexuality by itself is no longer a "sexual orientation issue."
It is instead considered an issue of tolerance, respect, civil
rights, or even safety. This is exactly the ammunition that schools
and homosexual activists have needed to freely circumvent the law
and toss aside its intent.
4. Superintendent uses flawed interpretation of already flawed
So when Ash asked for advice, the Department sent Lexington a copy of
a previous decision from July 26, 2004. It was in the form of a
letter Driscoll sent to a mother and father in Bedford, who had
complained about a number of issues.
(We spoke to the mother, and she said that working with the DOE
was a horrendous experience, emotionally draining, and she got no
satisfaction at all from them.)
In his article, Ash referred to language from the following
portion of Driscoll's letter, which discusses a middle school
The first issue raised by you for review is the skit portraying
a homosexual student that was part of a November 24, 2003 mandatory
school-wide assembly. As noted above, G.L. c. 71, sec. 32A requires
each school committee to adopt and publish a policy ensuring that
parents are notified about, and permitted to exempt their children
from, any "curriculum that primarily involves human sexual education or
human sexuality issues." The Department has interpreted this phase
to apply to courses, school assemblies, or other instructional
activities and programs that students are scheduled to attend
during the school day, and that focus on human sexual education,
the biological mechanics of human reproduction and sexual
development, or human sexuality issues.
Although the skits performed at the school-wide assembly held on
November 24, 2003 may be considered "curricula" for the purpose of
G.L. c. 71, sec. 32A, since attendance at the assembly was
mandatory and the skits were instructional in nature, they were not
"curricul[a] that primarily involves human sexual education or
human sexuality issues." The assembly was part of a "Day of
Respect," the purpose of which, according to the school, was to
promote tolerance and respect for every student, including
students, such as gay and lesbian students and disabled students,
who are often viewed as different by other students.
purpose of the skits was to provide instruction on tolerance, not
issues of human sexuality. The skit at issue dealt with social
obstacles that homosexual students may face at school. There was no
evidence, and you do not suggest, that the skit included direct
discussion of human sexuality issues and/or, specifically,
homosexual relationships. The mere reference to the fact of
homosexuality or the portrayal of a homosexual student, without
further instruction or discussion of the physical and sexual
implications of homosexuality, does not constitute instruction
about "the biological mechanics of human reproduction and sexual
development, or human sexuality issues." Based on these facts, I conclude that the skit did not require parental notification under
G.L. c. 71, sec. 32A.
Notice that Driscoll shamelessly uses the "tolerance and
respect" excuse to dismiss the parents' concerns and twist the
meaning and intent of the law.
But also notice that Driscoll still states that if the skit had
portrayed "homosexual relationships," then his decision not to
require notification would not apply. Paul Ash ignores this. Clearly, a same-sex "couple" constitutes a homosexual relationship.
But Ash is so intent on pushing the agenda on Lexington's children
that he decides not to let this "detail" get in his way.
5. And then there's the larger issue.
Suppose there were no Parental Notification Law to bicker about?
In a normal society, there shouldn't be a need for one. The sad and
outrageous truth is that we have a government and school officials
in Massachusetts who are extremely anti-parent, anti-religious
radicals -- who think nothing of using kids' minds as their own
personal sandbox for social experiments.
In our opinion, Paul Ash is a symbol of the most dangerous
aspect of the American education system.
Dr. Paul Ash, Superintendent
Lexington Public Schools
1557 Massachusetts Ave.
Lexington, MA 02420