First, this follow up question was sparked from this previous question, which can be summed up as "are there restrictions on parental rights to limit a minor's association."

I'm assuming we are not talking about any kind of activity or speech that would be regulated under "vice" laws (strip club, 21+ bar, etc).

If you have a group that minors regularly attend, is there a requirement on the group to obtain parental consent? Does the group's type of speech matter (religious, political, etc.), or does it matter if it is a group "targeted" at minors?

A few test examples I would be curious about:

  1. A non-religious (LGBTQ) student support group meeting at a high school, allowed to meet as a club on school grounds (presumably with protection under the Equal Access Act). If there were a non-professional volunteer from a national non-profit often in attendance, but not offering counseling services, would that change things?

  2. A recognized church (by the IRS), meeting on their own property. I've been to many cathedrals, churches, temples, mosques, gurdwaras, etc., where one could simply come to the back of a service, listen to the speech, and leave without really interacting with anyone.

  3. A religious organization targeting minors on a high school campus. Again, I'm not interested in a specific case but groups like the Secular Student Alliance, Campus Crusade, Young Life, or the local Muslim Student Organization. Would there be a duty on the group to control and monitor attendance based on parental consent?

I'm worried this might get into hyper-local laws, so if there are some general test cases/areas, I would appreciate the general theory.

1 Answer 1


Not in any state that I'm aware of. There may be local jurisdictions that have addressed this, but I don't know that they'd stand a court challenge, because the burden of not only gaining consent, but also checking the ages for all the group's participants would certainly fall under the legal definition of "onerous" (obligations usually have to match advantages, unless clearly agreed by both parties, usually in writing), especially if the topics discussed aren't outlawed or otherwise age-regulated by the community.

Religious groups have almost nothing to worry about in this regard, as they're specifically protected in the Constitution. If an event/group/meeting falls under the school's umbrella of responsibility, there may be some issues, but if they're after school events and the groups are treated the same as other groups, there should be no issue. Only if the school influences students to attend (or not attend), could this fall under government coercion and be actionable.

However, if any parent approaches the group and requests (especially in writing, but verbal is practically as good) that their child (until the age of majority) not be allowed to attend the group, if the group allows the child to attend, the group may then become liable, especially if they encourage the child to ignore or defy the parent(s).

In those cases, the group could not only face civil, but also criminal charges, especially in cases where the parents may argue that the group was contributing to the delinquency of a minor, such as LBGTQ groups, or even drug addiction groups that talk about drug abuse.

  • Any parent who thinks an LGBTQ group would be "contributing to the delinquency of a minor" has a screw loose.
    – Vikki
    Commented Feb 26, 2022 at 4:40

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .