I thought Head Start was about learning the alphabet


I guess I had heard about this years ago, but I had blocked it out, it was so appalling.

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated a lawsuit by eight parents against the local Head Start program (run by Community Action Project). Here's the court's summary of the case:

In this civil rights action, parents of eight pre-school children enrolled in the Head Start program in Tulsa, Oklahoma, complain that their children were subjected to intrusive physical examinations, including genital examinations and blood tests, on school premises without parental notice or consent. They claim that the Head Start agency, defendant Tulsa Community Action Project, falsely represented to medical personnel that consent forms had been obtained for each of the children and insisted on examinations even for children with up-to-date physicals supplied by their own doctors. They claim that these examinations violated their rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and under state law.

Later in the ruling is a more detailed description of what occurred. I will omit the really lurid parts.

The examinations challenged in this case were conducted in an ordinary classroom, with desks used as examination tables. The examining areas were separated only by partitions, so that it was possible for other children to see or hear portions of the examinations performed on their classmates. According to the plaintiffs, no doctor was present and the nurses were not in uniform, and the children were given no explanation regarding what was happening.... According to the plaintiffs, some of the children were upset and confused about the event, though testimony regarding their exact words was the subject of a motion in limine pending as of the grant of summary judgement. With the exception of Misti Dubbs, who was present in her capacity as a Head Start aide, no parents or guardians were with their children during the examinations. Parents were not given prior notice, and were not informed by telephone that day regarding the examinations. According to CAP, notification letters were prepared and available at the project site, but "[u]nfortunately" were "not distributed to the children to take home to their parents."

As far as I can tell, both sides agree that the exams were performed; the only dispute is about whether the exams violated the civil rights of the children.

This sort of thing has been happening in other places around the country, often in connection with Head Start.

Here's a story from World Net Daily in 1999 about the Tulsa case. And here's the press release by the Rutherford Institute, which represented the parents in this case.

What in the world was to be gained by subjecting three, four, and five-year-olds to this kind of treatment?

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on July 23, 2003 1:43 AM.

Will Tulsa's next big idea come from a committee? was the previous entry in this blog.

A special invitation is the next entry in this blog.

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