The article below appeared in the 3/7/07 edition of Education Week. It correctly describes FPN’s transition from favoring permission-based school clubs legislation to the parental notification variety instead.
The reason for FPN’s change in strategy involves what would otherwise be harm done to Christian outreach clubs that enjoy far greater attendance than student clubs celebrating witchcraft or homosexuality. Clipping the wings of an outreach by Fellowship of Christian Athletes, which can attract several hundred students to a single meeting in some school districts, seems way too high a price to pay in order to limit the outreach of a “Gay-Straight Alliance” club with 20 or 30 participants.
FPN is working to restore parents’ rights by pushing for full disclosure about all school clubs, and giving parents the ability to preclude their own children from participating in any or all such activities. This is a viable option right now, so we’re working to codify it into law wherever possible.
Meanwhile, FPN will monitor attempts to completely ban GSAs (in places like Utah), to see if that proves to be a viable option after the court battles that have been promised by homosexual activists play themselves out. Unfortunately, federal court decisions up until now have not permitted such bans, largely because of language banning viewpoint discrimination in the Equal Access Act.
If a local GSA-ban in Utah withstands federal court challenges, FPN wil push for that option wherever it can be passed. Until then, the organizations focus is to ensure parents have every opportunity to know about, and to act to protect their children from the influence of homosexual activists in public schools.
“Family Policy Network now supports legislation that specifies how schools notify parents about curricular and extracurricular clubs, which the Georgia law does not do, and allows parents to opt their children out of activities.”
Utah Poised for Parental Sign-Off on Club Activities
By Jessica L. Tonn – Education Week
March 7, 2007 – Vol. 26, Issue 26, Page 16
Legislation awaiting Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.’s signature could make the state the first in the nation to require parental permission for students to participate in school-sponsored clubs and organizations””a measure that opponents say is intended to prevent students from joining gay-straight clubs in schools.
Requiring parental permission also concerns Joe Glover, the president of the Family Policy Network, a Washington-based Christian advocacy organization that opposes gay-straight clubs and has lobbied against them in several states.
Though the Family Policy Network last year announced that it would campaign for parental-permission provisions in five states, not including Utah, Mr. Glover said that the group since has rethought its position. He is concerned that requiring parental consent could result in students’ choosing not to join a variety of school clubs””including religious groups that his organization supports.
“We’re actually concerned about Utah reaching too far,” he said. “We did favor permission slips, but we’re not so sure about that anymore.”
The Family Policy Network now supports legislation that specifies how schools notify parents about curricular and extracurricular clubs, which the Georgia law does not do, and allows parents to opt their children out of activities.
“We just want parents to sit down and talk to [their children] about what’s happening at their schools,” Mr. Glover said.
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USA Today: FPN Fighting for Parents’ Rights in Five States
Parents’ Rights Bill Called “˜Homophobic’ by Editorial in Richmond Times-Dispatch
AFA JOURNAL: FPN Finds Way to Combat “Gay-Straight Alliances” in Public Schools
AGAPE PRESS: FPN Launches Campaign to Limit “Gay-Straight Alliances” in Schools