In an appeal Monday, the Supreme Court said that a 90-minute sex education and AIDS education program held at a school assembly did not violate religious freedom or parents’ right to raise their children as they saw fit. Two former Massachusetts high school students and their parents had objected to the program; their lawsuit had been thrown out by a federal judge and the First Circuit Court of Appeals had upheld the dismissal. The appeals court ruled that parents do not have the right to “dictate the curriculum at the public school to which they have chosen to send their children.” A state court lawsuit is still pending.
Suzi Landolphi of the Hot, Sexy, and Safer production company said she has made the presentation more than 5,000 times and had never been sued. In 1992, she was a guest speaker at Chelmsford High School where she combined humor, audience participation and explicit references to warn students about the danger of contracting AIDS through sexual intercourse. Jason Mesti and Shannon Silva, both aged 15 at the time, were in the audience.
The claims regarding “freedom of religion” were rejected when the appeals court noted that the plaintiffs “do not allege the one-time compulsory attendance at the program threatened their entire way of life.” The case is Brown vs. Hot, Sexy and Safer Productions 95-1158.