In The School

Do Parents Have the Right to Choose Their Children’s Education?

Posted May 11th, 2012

Do Parents Have the Right to Choose Their Children’s Education?


Barrow v. Greenville ISD


      • Karen Jo Barrow, a 15-year teacher with her principle’s certificate, applied for the position of assistant principal at a middle school in the Greenville Independent School District. The Superintendent denied her the position when she refused to transfer her own children from a Christian school to the public school.

Current Status

      • Liberty Institute defended Barrow and the rights of parents to choose religious education for their children without government retribution.
      • The U.S. District Court in Dallas held that the right of parents to choose private education was not a fundamental right and ruled against Barrow.
      • Liberty Institute appealed and won a 3-0 reversal before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Following a two-week trial, a jury found that the superintendent violated Barrow’s constitutional parental rights and awarded her lost wages and punitive damages.


    • This ruling was critical as it solidified that fact that the decision of hiring an individual should never be based on the applicant’s personal decision of where/how to educate his/her own children.

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