The argument that state Rep. Dan Hynes espoused in his explanation of leaving the Republican Party is wholly groundless.
As an attorney, Rep. Hynes should know better than to claim that children have a constitutional right to privacy from their parents. The courts have widely ruled in case after case that minor children do not have a constitutional right to privacy from their parents. In fact, the courts have ruled that parents have an obligation to be aware of everything their minor children do.
Parents are given very wide latitude to monitor their children’s phone use, internet use, the friends they associate with, the possessions they keep in their rooms, where they go when driving the car, how late they stay out, and more.
Neither our state nor federal constitution extends full access to the enumerated God-given rights to minor children. Rather, they access the vast majority of rights through and by their parents and guardians. It is not until they reach age 18 or have petitioned a court for (and been granted) emancipation that they are fully responsible for their own actions and the courts recognized their autonomy of constitutional rights and obligations. The proof of this is in the many laws in place requiring parental permission for actions that any adult could rightfully take on their own. Additionally, there is no shortage of cases adjudicated that hold parents or guardians responsible monetarily or even criminally for neglecting their duty to supervise and control the actions of their minor children.
One must wonder where Rep. Hynes would draw the line in his assertion that children have a right to privacy from their parents. I would place a large wager on the fact that neither side of the aisle thinks it would be well within their constitutional rights for a child of 14 to possess a gun without parental knowledge. In fact, the Second Amendment of our Constitution is one of those constitutional rights that a minor child cannot exercise except through and by their parents.
Would Rep. Hynes advocate that a child should be allowed to keep medical issues from their parents if the child tells the doctor, “Don’t tell my parents I have a heart murmur; they won’t let me play baseball”? Would we allow a doctor to keep it secret from the parents if a 13-year-old divulges they’re experimenting with recreational drugs? If a child finds themselves arrested, would the police keep it a secret from the parent if the child asks, “Please don’t tell my parents”?
The answer to all of this is a resounding no. These examples clearly show two facts: The first is the courts have long held that the parents have an obligation to know what is going on with their children and require all information regarding that child so they can do their best to parent them.
The second fact is what Rep. Hynes is advocating for is not blanket constitutional rights of a child to have privacy from their parents – it is instead a carve-out where the teachers and the school become defacto parents and guardians of children, with all of the ability to make decisions of what they feel is in the best interest of a child without any of the obligations of cost, liability, and responsibility that come with raising the child. It is advocating for shared parental rights by a government body without any consent from the parents. Any minor child has no constitutional right to privacy against parental knowledge.