The Question is: Why?
By Carolee Adams, President, Eagle Forum of New Jersey
In 2001, former NJ State Assemblyman Scott Garrett (now Congressman R-5) and State Senator Gerald Cardinale (R-39) worked with Eagle Forum of New Jersey, Ridgewood parents, and others to stop nosy, intrusive student surveying of their children without “written, informed, parental consent”. That meant a parent had to, not only be “notified” of such surveys that could be administered to their children, but to be able to review that survey in advance and signify, in writing, with their signature, if they approved or not. It’s as simple as that – akin to a parent giving written consent for a school trip after being satisfactorily advised about the complete details of that trip.
However, over and over again since the 2002-3 legislative session, state legislators have sought to remove “written, informed, parental consent” from the exceptional language used in the 2001 Bill reverting back to only “notification”. “Notification” only used pre-2001 was the reason why “written, informed, parental consent“ was sought! Ridgewood parents claimed they never received “notification”; would never have signed off on such a survey had they been able to review it; and they justifiably sued – twice – and won based upon violations of a student’s rights under the Fourth, Fifth, and even Fourteenth Amendments.
In testimony, among many other factors presented in writing, I reminded Assembly Education committee members of those historic suits, and how costly to local Boards of Education and the State should a parent claim s/he did not receive notification and, consequently, did not grant express written permission. Even though one Assemblyman claimed how he wanted more “proactive” parental involvement, all but one Committee member was, obviously, foolishly satisfied or unconcerned with the sponsors’ assurance of “notification” only.
Further, and not publicly aired, in private conversation with one Republican Assembly member of the committee, an aid commented to me that Municipal Alliances favored the Bill; they needed money for their drug/alcohol abuse programs, etc. When I responded: “Do you mean you would disrespect parental rights and sacrifice a student’s privacy for money,” she and her Assembly member walked away from me prior to a vote of “yes” to approve the Bill and move it out of Committee. Only Assemblyman Scott Rumana voted “No”.admin | Filed under: NJ State Legislature, Parents, Parents Rights | Tags: A2421, A2421/S454, Assembly Education Committee, Carolee Adams, Gerald Cardinale, Municipal Alliances, S454, Scott Garrett, Scott Rumana, Sociologial strip search, Student surveys | 1 Comment »