In a ruling released on Thursday, the Maryland Court of Appeals said that parents do not have the right to opt their children out of LGBTQ+ curriculum in public schools. The court found that allowing parents to do so would be unconstitutional as it would interfere with the school’s right to teach what it sees fit under the Maryland’s Public School Education Article.
In its ruling, the court wrote, “The ability of a parent to direct the education of his or her child does not include a fundamental right to override the determinations of public schools as to the information to which a child will be exposed while enrolled as a student.”
The ruling comes in response to a challenge by a group of parents in Montgomery County, Maryland, who sought to have their children excluded from LGBTQ+ curriculum after the district, in response to a request from the families of transgender students, announced that “all students must be provided with a safe school environment that is inclusive and respectful of all gender identities and expressions” beginning in the 2017-2018 school year.
The court’s decision affirms that public schools have the right to teach what they view as appropriate and relevant without parental interference, even if the curriculum is controversial or sensitive in nature. It also serves as a reminder that any parental interference in education should not be used to discriminate against any students or groups.