What Is the Background of Parental Rights in America?

In the case Pierce v. Society of Sisters (268 U.S. 510), The United States Supreme Court held that parents have a fundamental constitutional right to direct the upbringing and education of their children.

In this case, the state of Oregon had passed a law that said that all children had to attend public school and that the option of private schools would not satisfy compulsory attendance laws.

In his opinion Mr. Justice McReynolds included these words:

"The child is not the mere creature of the state; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations."

By rendering this opinion, the US Supreme Court included a parent’s right to direct the upbringing and education of their children within the guarantee of liberty found in the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution. Since that case, the Supreme Court has consistently upheld parental rights.

However, a steady erosion of support for parental rights has been taking place within the federal courts—leaving the child-parent relationship exposed to the eminent danger of government intrusion.