The document that sets apart America from many other nation, the Constitution of the United States, delineates parental rights over their children, but what happens when such rights are violated?
Recently in Minnesota, a mother is being forced to appeal a judge’s decision to dismiss her lawsuit against school authorities who gave her teenage son female hormone treatments without her permission.
Not only did the school dismiss her parental legal rights, provided by the Constitution, but so did the judge, so much so, that her son was given treatments to alter his nature, potentially for the remainder of his life.
“The U.S. Constitution says that parental rights of fit parents are fundamental rights, fit parents’ parental rights over unemancipated minors cannot be terminated without due process,” stated Erick Kaardal, special counsel with the Thomas More Society, in a statement released Thursday.
According to the Christian Post;
Last November, Calgaro filed suit against St. Louis County, Fairview Health Services, Park Nicollet Health Services and the St. Louis County School District for treating her son as an emancipated minor and providing gender transition treatments without notice.
School officials argued that the child, whom court documents labeled “E.J.K.,” should be treated as an emancipated minor because he had been living on his own and had a letter of emancipation though it was not legally binding.
In May, District Court Judge Paul Magnuson admitted that the E.J.K. was not legally emancipated and that Calgaro’s parental rights “remain intact” but still ruled against the mother. He dismissed the mother’s claims as “meritless,” arguing that each of the various parties, including the teenager’s school district, could not be sued for violation of parental rights.
“The School District argues that Calgaro has failed to plausibly allege that the execution of a School District policy or custom caused the deprivation of Calgaro’s parental rights. The School District is correct,” ruled Magnuson.
“Calgaro fails to provide any facts that the School District executed a policy or custom that deprived Calgaro of her parental rights without due process.”
In the appeal, the Thomas More Society argued, “There’s a real disconnect in the District Court decision where the mother’s parental rights are admitted but not honored. Then, at the same time, the District Court claims those agencies which are violating Calgaro’s rights are doing nothing wrong.”
It also argued that since Calgaro, who is divorced, is by legal definition a “fit parent,” school and county officials had no right to emancipate her child and thus overrule her parental rights.
“Calgaro, the mother of E.J.K., has not been challenged nor has any evidence been shown that she is an unfit parent. She loves her child regardless of decisions made by her child,” reads the appeal brief.
Regardless of the circumstances, in this case, the outcome has potentially drastic implications for parents across Minnesota, because it could mean that under certain circumstances parental rights are subject to condition and community rather than what is clearly dictated in the United States Constitution.
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Such a case is alarming given what could become of a society that delineates parental rights to the community or the government. Even though this case is rare, it is reminiscent of the goal to relinquish parental rights to the state as previously stated by MSNBC Host Melissa Harris-Perry;
We have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their families and recognize that kids belong to whole communities. Once it’s everybody’s responsibility, and not just the households’, then we start making better investments.
To make matters worse, in 2013, MSNBC endorsed the statement and aired the commercial as part of a push in regards to public schools.
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The outcome of Calgaro’s appeal remains to be seen. However, the ever increasing push to break through the ‘private idea’ of children is still ongoing today, and must wholeheartedly be rebuked.