Letter from an NPFC Member to the Novato Advance
May 7, 2003

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Advise and consent

Editor:

I am writing about the Viewpoint article, “On opting in,” in last week’s Novato Advance.

Parents play an important role in the lives of their children. Therefore, the fact that parents are being asked to give permission before their children “can view this material” (“That’s A Family!”) respects parental rights.

I agree with the writers of the article when they stated, “We also strongly encourage parents to view the video themselves.” We, Novato Parents & Family Coalition (NPFC), have been advocating this from the beginning. We want parents to see the video for themselves, in order to make an informed decision on behalf of their children. However, if parents are unable to do so, they can visit our Web site, www.novatoparents.org, to see our Jan. 14 letter and information sheet to NUSD.

The information sheet outlines key concerns about “That's A Family!” and gives an overview of some things which many have found, or may find objectionable, including excerpts from the Guidebook.

Though NPFC did request that an “opt-in” form be used instead of an “opt out” form, my understanding is that NUSD is doing an “opt in” because the teachers and principals asked for it.

At the April 29 NUSD Board meeting, NPFC offered to pay for and mail out Guidebook excerpts to all fifth-grade families, should NUSD and the publisher permit us to do so. Our offer was a follow-up to our Jan. 14 request that NUSD send all fifth-grade parents the “handout” pages from the “That’s A Family!” guidebook. Those handouts contain a verbatim transcript of the key parts of the video, and as such, would be especially helpful to the fifth grade parents who have not seen the video.

Again, I encourage all fifth-grade parents to visit our web site, www.NovatoParents.org, to get the necessary information to make an informed decision on behalf of their children.

Abby Wong

Novato, NPFC ______________________________________________________________________________ 

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