The Hatch Amendment

Senator Orrin Hatch

Model Hatch Amendment Letter, Version 2

For this reason society requires that the education of youth should be watched with the most scrupulous attention. Education is a great measurer, forms the moral character of men and morals are the basis of government. Noah Webster, 1758-1843

The original “Model Hatch Amendment Letter,” crafted by Senator Orrin Hatch’s (R. Utah) office, was sent to Family Friendly Libraries by a dedicated New York mom who heard it on a “Turning Point” program by Dr. David Jeremiah. Another wise mom from Michigan has since used it with some additions that we believe are helpful, particularly when you still have some definite positive connections with your child’s school and want to keep those positives going. The result is an alternative letter which retains its strong parental rights message while encouraging good relationships that exist to continue. Feel free to use either model or adapt it to your own situation even further. Let us know what is happening in this parental rights arena, please.

___(date)__________

Dear _(building principal)____,

As the parents of ___(child’s name)____, who attends ____(school name)_____, we thank you and your staff for your interest and effort in seeking to provide an excellent education for our child. Your commitment and skills are deeply appreciated! We are proud of the level of excellence in education that __(school name)___provides in each classroom, and we thank you for all that you do to contribute to the education of our __(son or daughter)__.

We would like to address the issue of our ability to review classroom material via this letter. Our desire is that we are able to review materials and address issues with our child concurrent with the curriculum and within the framework of our family, as well as having the appropriate knowledge to discern the curriculum’s alignment or lack thereof with our family’s beliefs.

Under U.S. legislation and court decision, parents have the primary responsibility for their children’s education, and students have certain rights that the school may not deny. Parents have the right to be assured that the schools do not unknowingly or knowingly impair or weaken the student’s beliefs, moral values and belief systems within his or her family unit. A student has the right to hold his or her values and moral standards without direct or indirect manipulation by the schools through curricula, textbooks, and AV material or supplementary assignments. Schools and families successfully working together as partners in education and communication of curriculum content will further strengthen the ability to provide students an excellent education in a way that strengthens individual families and our community.

Under the Hatch Amendment, we hereby request that our child not be involved in any school activity or material listed below unless we have first reviewed all the relevant material and given our written consent for their use.

Values clarification, use of moral dilemmas, discussion of religious or moral standards, role playing, open-ended discussions of situations involving moral issues, survival games including life/death decision exercises, contrived incidents for self-revelation, sensitivity training, group encounter sessions, talk-ins, magic circle techniques, self-evaluation, auto-criticism, strategies designed for self-disclosure including the keeping of a diary, journal or log book, sociograms, sociodramas, psychodramas, blindfolded walks, isolation techniques, death education including abortion, euthanasia, suicide, use of violence, discussions of death and dying, curricula or books and reading materials pertaining to religious beliefs (including elements of witchcraft), drugs and alcohol, nuclear war, nuclear policy, nuclear classroom games, globalism, one world government, curricula discussing anti-nationalistic views, evolution, discussion and testing on interpersonal relationship, discussions of attitudes towards parents and parenting, health education including human development, and education in human sexuality including birth control and pre-marital sex.

Psychological and psychiatric treatment or adult and peer counseling that is designed to affect behavioral, emotional or attitudinal characteristics of an individual or designated to elicit information about attitudes, habits, traits, opinions, beliefs, or feelings of an individual or group.

The purpose of this letter is to preserve our child’s rights under the pupil’s rights amendment, the Hatch Amendment to the General Education Act, and under its regulation, as published in the Federal Register on September 6, 1984, which became effective November 12, 1984. These regulations provide a procedure for filing complaints first at the local level and then with the U.S. Department of Education. If a voluntary remedy fails, federal funds can be withdrawn from those in violation of the law.

We respectfully ask you to send us a substantive response to this letter, attaching a copy of your policy statement on procedures for parental permission requirements. We also ask that you notify all of our child’s teachers with a copy of this letter and keep a copy of this letter in our child’s file.

Our purpose and intent is to work cooperatively with the schools in congenial and positive attitudes and actions, with our child’s best interest in mind. We fully support your efforts to provide excellent education within our community and for our child, and we are grateful for each teacher and administrator’s dedication to our child’s success within school.

Please feel free to call us with any questions at any time during the course of the year. Again, we thank you for your cooperation and excellent efforts in providing for the education of our child.

Sincerely,

Senator Orrin Hatch

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