Effort at Parental Rights Amendment in Georgia Stalls

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Attorney Jonathan Crumly, seated at end of table, meeting with Georgia state Reps. (left to right) David Wilkerson, Dar'Shun Kendrick, Paulette Rakestraw Braddock, Jason Spencer and Delvis Dutton

Georgia parents could no longer put their children in time-outs or impose other discipline if the U.S. Senate ratifies an international treaty on children's rights. Or so says state Rep. Jay Neal (R-LaFayette) and other backers of a proposed Parental Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Neal asked state House colleagues Tuesday to call on Congress to back a constitutional amendment declaring that parents -- not the government -- have the right to direct their children's upbringing and education.

But the clock ran out during a time-shortened meeting of the House Children and Youth Committee, and Neal's resolution was tabled, quite possibly killing it for this year's legislative session. The motion to table passed on a 9-7 vote.

Parentalrights.org, whose top officers run the Virginia-based Home School Legal Defense Association, is backing the amendment nationally. In Georgia, the group's leader is Jonathan Crumly, attorney for a non-profit that helps funnel tax-subsidized scholarships to students attending private Christian schools.

Crumly told committee members Tuesday that the treaty -- the United Nation Convention on the Rights of the Child -- under Article 6 of the U.S. Constitution, would become "the law of the land" if ratified. As such, he said, the treaty would override state laws regarding discipline, education and determinations of child neglect or abuse.

The treaty would prevent parents from imposing any discipline that is "unnecessarily embarrassing or confrontational," he said, "and that can and has included things like simple timeouts."

Advocates also fear the treaty could prevent parents from instilling religious views in their children, Crumly said.

Democrats on the committee pushed back, saying the amendment is not needed and is based on faulty interpretations of the treaty and U.S. Supreme Court decisions on parental rights.

The United States and Somalia are the only countries in the world that have not ratified the United Nation Convention on the Rights of the Child, which took effect in 1990.

Photo by Jim Walls

One thought on “Effort at Parental Rights Amendment in Georgia Stalls

  1. The PRA bases its claims on deliberate misrepresentation of the UN Convention, the world’s most signed treaty. The claims made by PRA are risible – not one other country would have ratified it had these been true. Or are all parents in other nations morons? What the CRC does is set standards for all children everywhere, and please let’s not pretend it’s all hunky-dory for kids in the US or the UK. All the US would need to do is ensure its report to the UN every 5 years was able to show the US was doing its best to implement the CRC according to its national laws and institutions. All the UN committee to experts monitoring the CRC can do is make recommendations after that 5-yearly submission, which the US is free to accept or not. Where the CRC standards were not being equalled or exceeded by US laws and practices, that is where the US courts could use the CRC, as they do every treaty the US has ever signed. To pretend that the CRC could override the Constitution, as is claimed hysterically and cynically by PRA,is bunk. The President (Clinton) signed it, ratification means it can take effect in the US. Much of the real PRA opposition is religious in nature. Fundy religious. For the Convention says children have the right to choose their religion, and parents cannot impose their beliefs, but they are there to guide their kids. Isn’t that the Constitutional situation anyway, freedom of belief? or do rights only arrive when the kid reaches 18? Preposterous, the US courts wouldn’t need the CRC to decide that that position was untenable. In fact the PRA’s aims would impinge on key aspects of the Constitution, enabling religion to be imposed and freedom of belief suppressed and perverted. They are so paranoid to get their ideas accepted they aim to deny kids in the US the expression of their rights adopted across the world. It leaves the US behind, not leading. On a par with Somalia, the failed state which also has not signed, but even there its leaders say they will ratify when they are able to show they meet the most basic of the CRC’s standards. Nice company for the US….