Parental Rights and Public School Curricula: Revisiting Mozert after 20 Years
Journal of Law & Education, Vol. 38, p. 83, 2009
53 Pages Posted: 15 Jan 2012
Date Written: January 1, 2009
The Supreme Court has long noted that the right of parents to direct the education and upbringing of their children is fundamental to American culture and law and therefore worthy of respect. The Court, however, has never explicitly held that it is a fundamental right which, if threatened, merits strict scrutiny. State and lower federal courts therefore remain divided on this issue.
This article traces the history of parental rights and responsibilities in the Western legal tradition. The author concludes that such rights reflect some of the oldest and most venerated values of Western culture, and that their preservation is fundamental to maintaining individual freedom. The author therefore suggests that the right of parents to have their children excused from curricular requirements in public schools that are hostile to the family's religious faith deserves heightened judicial scrutiny.
Keywords: due process, substantive due process, Constitution, parental rights, freedom of religion, curriculum
JEL Classification: I20, I28, K10, K40
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation