FEDERAL COURT: Parental Rights Stop at Schoolhouse Door

A federal appeals court has thrown out a parental-rights lawsuit over a Maryland school district’s policy that allows teachers to withhold information about a student’s transgender identity from parents.

The U.S. Court of Appeals ruled on Monday parents lacked standing to sue the Montgomery County Board of Education.

Ed Vitagliano, executive vice president of American Family Association, expressed grave concerns about the court ruling during an interview on The Todd Starnes Show.


“Parents, and especially in some of these blue states, are feeling absolutely helpless in the face of what public schools are doing to to support this radical ideology,” he said.

Following, is a transcript of Todd’s conversation with Ed. Click here to sign up for Todd’s free newsletter for Conservative and Christian news.

STARNES: [01:35:36] Well, there is a crazy, crazy story from our friends over at American Family Association. And I’ve got to tell you, I can’t even I know the country’s a mess right now. I cannot even begin to imagine how horrifying this nation would be without the great work of American Family Association. They are standing rock solid on the front lines fighting for families across America. Nearly 2 million constituents worldwide. And they’re just do terrific work. Here’s the headline. Tyranny. Court says school authorities own the children. Parents must simply live with it. And talking about the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. I want to go to the Patriot Mobile Newsmaker Line, our good friend Ed Vitagliano, who is the executive vice president of American Family Association. Ed, how’s it going today? [01:36:29][52.8]

VITAGLIANO: [01:36:30] It’s going great. Todd. Great to be with you. Just trying to stay cool and make it through August. [01:36:36][5.9]

STARNES: [01:36:36] Yes, I understand. And just be glad you’re not on a debate stage, Ed. So we’ve got that in our corner, too. [01:36:43][6.5]

VITAGLIANO: [01:36:44] That’s right. [01:36:45][0.2]

STARNES: [01:36:45] Ed, let’s talk about the story. What’s going on here? Who in their right mind seems to think that the schools own the children? [01:36:51][5.8]


VITAGLIANO: [01:36:53] Well, this is a case that arose in Maryland and the Montgomery School District. Montgomery County Public Schools. A group of parents sued the schools because the schools had developed gender support plans for students who identify as gender fluid or transgender without parental consent. And so the parents, there was a group of parents that sued the Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland over this. The fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said parents don’t have standing to sue over this policy if their kids unless their kids are transgender. But the problem with that ruling is parents would not know if their kids or might not know if their kids were transgender, if the school was hiding that from them. So it is a bizarre ruling over a bizarre policy, very disturbing policy, keeping these things from parents. And more and more parents, and especially in some of these blue states, are feeling, I think, absolutely helpless in the face of what public schools are doing to to support this radical ideology. [01:38:16][83.3]

STARNES: [01:38:17] It certainly does feel that way. Right? I mean, and it’s not just in Montgomery County. We have seen this play out in other school districts where, you know, they’re teaching, they’re telling the teachers, hey, look if this kid identifies as a boy or a girl. You can’t tell mom and dad that. So it’s it’s almost as if they are taking that leap to say that they know better. [01:38:38][21.4]

VITAGLIANO: [01:38:40] Absolutely. And they’re saying that they know better than parents. And the implication is when the students are at school, they’re ours, they’re not yours, parents. And too many of these schools. Listen, we have a situation in Virginia which, you know, it used to be red, then it kind of went blue. Now maybe it’s kind of purplish. But, you know, the governor there, Glenn Youngkin, was elected in part because parents were becoming horrified at this idea that schools and especially the officials running the public schools believe the kids are theirs. That’s what Joe Biden said. The parents, the kids are ours. Well, now you have a law in Virginia that several school districts have said we’re going to ignore the law and we are going to continue on with our gender ideology. So you have these radicals that are, I mean, they’re like revolutionaries. They are going to go forward with their radical plans for the nation’s children. And to your point, parents are going, well, what do we do? Not all these parents can can homeschool. They can’t necessarily send their kids outside the public school system. But for schools to be so stubborn in resisting parental concerns. I’m a grandfather now, so I don’t I don’t know what it would be like to have kids in this situation, but it would be terrifying. [01:40:06][85.2]

STARNES: [01:40:07] No, it would be. I’m I’m just shocked. I didn’t know that you’re Grandpa Ed now, I had no idea. [01:40:11][4.7]

VITAGLIANO: [01:40:12] Oh, yes. Wow. I am. And our kids know that they have fallen well down the ladder. It’s all about the grandkids. [01:40:20][7.2]

STARNES: [01:40:20] Oh, of course. No doubt about that. You know, Ed, Vitagliano, by the way folks, from American Family Association on the Patriot Mobile Newsmaker Line today. Ed, a lot of parents are saying, okay, they they don’t know what to do. And you guys have a lot of resources there. What is it that AFA can do to help moms and dads who are just trying to figure all this out? [01:40:41][21.0]

VITAGLIANO: [01:40:43] Well, there’s there’s a lot of things that parents can start doing. First of all, we encourage people just to, you know, just hook up with us and stay listening to radio programs like yours. Keep informed, because what we saw during COVID was that parents were finding out with their kids at home, with parents at home. They were finding out for the first time for many of them what was actually going on. And that has really turned a trickle of concern into a river flowing in a lot of these states. So stay informed. You know, we encourage people to come to AFA.net and find out what’s going on. Band together. Talk to attorneys. There are a number of excellent Christian law firms that will represent parents in their battle against the public school system. And by the way, Todd, I always try to encourage people that there are still a lot of good public schools and we always want to make that point. A lot of great teachers still in the public school system. So it’s not completely given over to woke madness. But in a lot of states it is owned by the woke gangsters. And so we encourage people to to take some of these steps, get yourself educated, find out what the law is in your state, talk to your representatives, call your representatives and senators and those on local school boards. Run for local school board openings. Try to get involved in state oversight, because if we allow the radicals to control the levers of power without anyone else being there, they’re going to do what their what they’re going to do. And they don’t care how parents feel about it. [01:42:34][111.4]

STARNES: [01:42:35] Well, I think you’re right. And and it’s good to know that American Family Association is there because a lot of times, you know, this is happening to you. You feel isolated, You wonder, man, we’re out here on an island all by ourselves and the whole point of American Family Association, more than 2 million constituents strong, is to say, nope, there are a whole lot of us out there. [01:42:57][22.3]

VITAGLIANO: [01:42:59] Absolutely. And we do have what’s called the ivoter guide. If you go to AFA.net, there’s a little dropdown menu. And what ivoter guide does is it will inform people in great detail on the important elections in their state and as well as federal elections. And you’ve got to you got to get registered to vote and you got to get active, you got to vote and you got to become involved because to do nothing is to lose everything we were bequeathed by those who have come before us. [01:43:32][33.1]

STARNES: [01:43:33] All right. Well, well said, Ed. All right. Well, we’re going to leave it there. Appreciate the incredible work that that you and the and the team are doing at American Family Association, American Family Radio. And we’re proud to stand alongside your guys. [01:43:46][13.3]

VITAGLIANO: [01:43:48] Well, thank you. Todd, you’re a great warrior on the front lines. We count you as a friend and keep up the good work on your end as well. [01:43:55][7.6]

STARNES: [01:43:56] All right, Grandpa Ed. Is that, do you have a grandpa name, by the way? Ed? Just curious. [01:44:00][4.0]

VITAGLIANO: [01:44:01] Yeah, I’m Papa. [01:44:01][0.4]

STARNES: [01:44:02] Oh, Papa. I like that. So, Papa V. [01:44:05][3.1]

VITAGLIANO: [01:44:06] I don’t. I don’t want. I don’t want to be called a grandpa. Even though I am. I want to be papa. [01:44:10][4.0]

STARNES: [01:44:10] I love it. That’s great. [01:44:11][0.9]

VITAGLIANO: [01:44:11] That’s what’s stuck. [01:44:12][0.2]

STARNES: [01:44:13] I love it. All right, Ed, always good hearing from you. Ed Vitagliano, the executive vice president for American Family Association. Thanks. Thanks again. What a what a good guy. And they do such great work and consistent. Right? I mean, it’s they have just had a a history of consistency and faithfulness and they do good work. And folks, if you ever look for an area, if you want to help somebody out, you want to support an organization, AFA.net is is one that I would highly recommend. [01:44:44][31.0]

  • The Todd Starnes Podcast
  • Todd Starnes
  • https://chrt.fm/track/23284G/dts.podtrac.com/redirect.mp3/traffic.omny.fm/d/clips/5e27a451-e6e6-4c51-aa03-a7370003783c/ec639eda-812c-4db1-85c8-acfd010f9fef/771da3d5-5d0a-48ae-b7f5-b17a013b12d6/audio.mp3?track=false
  • https://chrt.fm/track/23284G/dts.podtrac.com/redirect.mp3/traffic.omny.fm/d/clips/5e27a451-e6e6-4c51-aa03-a7370003783c/ec639eda-812c-4db1-85c8-acfd010f9fef/771da3d5-5d0a-48ae-b7f5-b17a013b12d6/audio.mp3?track=false