“They stole my child’s innocence and they stole my rights." These were the words of Cory Johnson upon receiving word from the Alice Harte elementary school that his 9-year-old fourth-grade daughter was required, without prior notice to her parents, to be subjected to a sex education class in the presence of male classmates.

What a pitiful shame that the staff of the school ignored the clear-cut guidelines of the preamble of the Louisiana Children’s Code (Article 101), which in part declares:

"The people of Louisiana recognize the family as the most fundamental unit of human society; that preserving families is essential to a free society; that the relationship between parent and child is pre-eminent in establishing and maintaining the well-being of the child; ... that parents have the paramount right to raise their children in accordance with their own values and traditions; that parents should make the decisions regarding ... the educational, moral and religious training of the child, the medical, psychiatric, surgical, and preventive health care of the child, and the discipline of the child; ... that the role of the state in the family is limited and should only be asserted when there is a serious threat to the family, the parents or the child; and that extraordinary procedures established by law are meant to be used only when required by necessity and then with due respect for the rights of the parents, the children and the institution of the family." 

All schools, especially elementary schools, should be required to educate staff concerning both children’s rights and parental rights so plainly and strongly declared in the preamble of the Louisiana Children’s Code. I can see no justification for fourth-grade sex education without first fully informing parents of the content and obtaining the parents’ consent in writing.

Lawrence Lagarde Jr.

retired Juvenile Court Judge

Metairie