That's from a Delaware Family Court order that came out in 2002, JJ.W. B. v. K.A. B., 2002 WL 31454072 (Del. Fam. Ct.), but that I just came across. If the father used such words in violation of the court order, he would be subject to criminal prosecution for contempt (though practically speaking it seems likelier that the court would further reduce his visitation time with the children).
For more on this broad issue, check out Parent-Child Speech and Child Custody Speech Restrictions, 81 NYU L. Rev. 631 (2006). If this order is constitutional, what other orders would be permitted? For instance, say that the father was expressing racist views, or harshly anti-government views. Could a court also bar the expression of such views within the children's presence? (In particular, the father in this case apparently often said "niggers need to burn in hell," and the child apparently "on one occasion ... made the statement to an African American child in the neighborhood." What if the father had said "blacks are intellectually inferior to whites," or "whites are a bunch of racists that are trying to keep us blacks down," and the child repeated this? Or what if the father taught the child this, but successfully taught the child not to repeat it to others?)
Also, these children were nearly 6 and 4½. If you think that's relevant, at what age would a parent regain his constitutional right to express various views — even views that we may think children shouldn't be taught — around his children?
As you might gather, from this post and from the article, these sorts of speech restrictions strike me as extremely troubling. And though I agree that it is indeed against a child's best interests to hear certain kinds of statements, and to learn evil ideologies from his parents, allowing courts to restrict parental speech strikes me as quite dangerous. Nor is this danger hypothetical; for examples of courts holding against parents' based on their atheism, advocacy of homosexual rights, and a variety of other ideologies, see the Introduction and Appendix to my article. I argue in the article that such diminution of parental rights based on parents' speech is generally unconstitutional. But this should be even clearer as to a court order banning certain speech, as in this case.
All Related Posts (on one page) | Some Related Posts:
- Preference for Public School Over Homeschooling -- and Maybe Private Schooling -- Because It Provides "Exposure to Different Points of View"?
- Another Quote from a Child Custody Case,
- "Father Shall Not Use Profanity or Racial Epithets in the Boys' Presence or Within Their Earshot":
- Ban on Divorced Father's "Exposing the Children to His Homosexual Partners and Friends":...
- NPR Weekend Edition on the Jihadist Father Gag Order Case:
- Parent-Child Speech and Child Custody Speech Restrictions:
- Parent-Child Jihadist Speech: