Children are not livestock or pets


April 20, 2023

To The Eagle:

Barney Bishop, head of that Tallahassee Classical School, of “Renaissance porn” notoriety, stated “school policies must protect the rights of all parents; parental rights are supreme and always supercede the rights of their children.”

Give me a moment here to mute my blaring bull**it detector. Children are not livestock or pets. Kids have human and constitutional rights equivalent to those of their parents. As minors, some of those rights are conditional, and easier to violate with impunity because parents control them.

Parenthood is essentially a custodial arrangement that, at best, is reinforced through family law or at worse, can be interrupted or terminated by those same laws. Despite their dependent status, children ‘belong’ only to themselves. They are not chattel nor are they a parent’s personal property.

Only three parents, of the 56 students enrolled in that sixth grade Renaissance art history lesson, ludicrously complained that the classical nude statue viewed during the lesson was pornographic. Those three parents, exercising their “supreme rights” shut down the Renaissance Arts course and caused a principal to be fired.

What of the rights of the other 53 parents who were unconcerned about their kids viewing a historic, anatomically accurate statue? What about those 56 students’ right to an education devoted to broadening, instead of narrowing, their young minds?

Mr. Bishop further stated that photos of Michelangelo’s ‘David’ shown to young kids should only illustrate its upper body features, because showing the lower anatomy to them is “inappropriate.”

What’s actually inappropriate is Bishop’s projecting upon young students, his repressive, genital-phobic, paternalistic morality characteristic of the conservatively Christian enclave; the target audience most susceptible to professional Republican’s fear and sin’ mongers.

I consider it child abuse to deprive the young, at any stage of development, of a truth and fact based education that promotes, along with the three “R’s”: social inclusiveness, self respect, tolerance, compassion and most importantly, critical thinking skills.

Young adults depend upon those skills when, once emancipated from religious parents, have the opportunity to evolve beyond religious doctrinal morality, and adopt a rational, humanistic code of ethics as the best way to live good, fulfilling lives.

JB Bouchard

Puget Island


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