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The Constitutional ParentRights, Responsibilities, and the Enfranchisement of the Child$
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Jeffrey Shulman

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780300191899

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300191899.001.0001

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Sacred Trust or Sacred Right?

Sacred Trust or Sacred Right?

Chapter:
(p.1) One Sacred Trust or Sacred Right?
Source:
The Constitutional Parent
Author(s):

Jeffrey Shulman

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300191899.003.0001

The law of parentchild relations has long embodied a belief that education (a “leading away from”) is the path away from childhood and toward intellectual and moral enfranchisement. Unless children are to live under “a perpetual childhood of prescription,” unless we are to deny them the pursuit of happiness, they must be exposed to the dust and heat of the race—intellectually, morally, spiritually. It is no wonder then that we would want to transform the sacred trust of parenthood into a sacred right. But our legal traditions teach that parenthood is first and foremost not a sacred right but a sacred responsibility, a fiduciary duty owed equally to the child and the state. The Constitution's guarantee of personal freedoms is meaningful only if we, as parents, accept the responsibilities from which parental authority arises, and the constitutional strength of parenting privileges should depend on our willingness to do so.

Keywords:   parentchild relations, parenthood as trust, parenthood as right, Constitution, enfranchisement of the child

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