The following seminar with Prof. Bartholet is for 1L’s only by special enrollment.
Course description: The U.S. Constitution gives parents powerful rights to control their children, limiting the state’s ability to protect children. Children have few rights under the Constitution, and none to what vulnerable young children most need, such as nurturing care. This stands in contrast to the international picture, where the Convention on the Rights of the Child (ratified by all countries except the U.S.), along with almost all modern constitutions, recognize child rights, including to protection against maltreatment and to education. The Homeschooling regime illustrates the dangers of the U.S. approach. Some parents provide excellent at-home educations, but many do not. The Homeschooling lobby has successfully eliminated virtually all regulation, relying on parent rights claims. As a result, parents are free to educate or not, and many choose to keep their children at home to avoid exposure to values generally thought central to our democracy. They are free to abuse their children, free from surveillance by the teachers who play an important role as mandated reporters of child maltreatment. We will explore the contrast in thinking between this and other countries, and whether children here should be seen as having any constitutional right to education and protection.