Parental Permission

Let’s be honest. This parental permission bill is really about more than making sure parents know the extracurricular burden of their children in high school. It is also a subtle way to employ pressure on schools that encourage, foster, or allow the formation of groups, like gay rights groups, that parents might not like their children belonging to.

While there is an ulterior motive to the legislation — at least that’s what a lot of critics are saying — as a parent I do kind of like the idea of knowing what groups my child is joining at school, but I pity the parents who raise children who do not think they can talk to their parents about their extracurricular activities without the compulsion of legal mandates.

7 comments

  1. elaine says:

    Parents should know what their kids are doing. I laugh a little bit at it because my parents seemed to have omniscient powers when it came to my activities. They knew before I got home what kind of day I had. But it is kinda sad that something so simple is being taken on by government. Please help my ignorance. But, is it that current laws aren’t enough to ensure that the parent of a minor is in control over what that child ultimately is allowed to do? Or is there a school system or schools within the system that are essentially “hiding” activities from parents? I know there may be differing opinions among the adults as to what that child should be allowed to do such as joining the gay student group. However, is it not already set up that if a parent wants to know, they can simply ask the school or be required to sign something saying their kid can participate?

  2. Decaturguy says:

    You are right Elaine, this legislation is a solution in search of a problem.

    Good analysis Erick. There are certain conversations between parent and child that the government has no business getting involved with. This is just another sad commentary on our “big government to the rescue” society sponsored by the radical right.

  3. kspencer says:

    The bill HB661 – http://www.legis.ga.gov/legis/2005_06//versions/hb661_LC_33_1230S_hcs_5.htm – basically makes the following requirements.
    : Schools must send parents/guardians a list of all clubs and non-competitive organizations (not sports, band or chorus) in the school;
    : Schools must tell parents/guardians what clubs etc their child has joined;
    : Schools must give parents/guardians the ability to say “no” to such membership for their child.

    What has the left in a tizzy is the first requirement. And yet, as a parent that’s actively involved and who is (for Georgia) rather left myself, I want to know this list in case there are groups my daughter might not otherwise discover. That’s experience – over halfway through this year (the second at this school) we discovered two such clubs. It’s a little late to be joining either in any effective manner at this point.

    Oh, and while I don’t know if the article mentioned it, I’m very glad the fourth requirement of the original was deleted by the committee. That was the requirement that parents give explicit permission for their child to join each and every club. I think it’s a bit overbroad as long as the parent knows (requirement two) and their “no” carries solid weight with the school (requirement three). It definitely avoids the problems of parents who don’t care enough to sign a slip – and there are several – and so eliminate the minimal opportunities those children may have.

  4. elaine says:

    Thanks for the information. But can’t a parent that cares so much about their child’s involvement or non-involvement in ANY activity at school simply ask for that information and then say no if they don’t agree? Further, monitor their own child’s comings and goings?

    And I now understand what Erik was saying about the other motives behind it because it’s clearly seen in the language. Why aren’t the competitive organizations included? It now looks like certain types of organizations are being targeted.

    I don’t know, maybe I just had tougher parents like many and will be a tougher parent one day. Big government to tell you how to run your home isn’t something I expected Republicans to do. Personal responsibility is big tenant, why doesn’t it apply now? But, if there really is a problem with schools “covering” for students whose parents are involved, then that’s a problem. But couldn’t that be something the local boards of education address?

  5. I know this isn’t the most glamorous example, and is kind of straight from an afterschool special, but what if someone comes from a family where no one has ever gone to college and their parents are trying to discourage them from even thinking about it.

    What if that person wanted to attend a meeting about how to get a scholarship? Like I said, I know this is a lame example but teenage children are interesting in experimenting with new ideas and trying out new things. Would we rather them do that in a school club — where we don’t tell their parents but where an administrator or teacher is the sponor and at meetings, or do you want to wait for college when no parents are around and god knows what will happen with all of that bottled up angst?

  6. Decaturguy says:

    Or how about a kid who’s father wants more than anything for him to be a football player, but the kid’s interest is really in art or literature or science. The father forbids the son from joining any of those clubs, or any club, because he wants him to play football.

    Instead of pursuing his interests in a school club, and not intereted in football, the kid gets into alcohol and drugs, drops out of school, and becomes a burden to society.

    Laws have consequences. Hatred of gay people (which is the reason for this law) is bad for society.

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