Friday, September 14, 2007

Why My Children Don't Go To Public School

There are actually many reasons is one of them.

Today, for the first time since I completed my student teaching in December 1992, I spent an entire day in a public school classroom. As I will likely do a number of times in the days and weeks ahead, I was a substitute today in a local, fairly rural public high school, where I subbed for a teacher of World History [2 sections] and Health [2 sections] and (for those of you who know me, feel free to laugh—I think it's funny, too) Weight Training [just one co-ed section].

Although my day as a substitute went reasonably well, it was very sad to see the social condition of most of the students. Not being an expert on this particular school's rules, I do not know how much of the following is in violation of those rules, but judging by the widespread occurrence of these things, my guess is that they are not violations or simply not dealt with:

  • Horrendous dress, both in terms of modesty (girls in particular, showing far too much of themselves), sloppiness (ripped clothing, especially), and messages (irreverence to authority, rock groups, general foolishness)
  • General lack of manners. Although the students were generally friendly to the total stranger now among them, their manners could be classified as relatively crude. Apparently boys wearing hats in the classroom is an acceptable practice.
  • Unacceptable behavior between boys and girls (unacceptable to God, that is). Having a co-ed class in weight training while in gym clothes isn't very healthy, either.
  • Bad language. Two particular words, both of which start with "s", were heard more times today than I can remember.
  • And just a miscellaneous: Since when were flip-flops over bare feet considered acceptable school dress? I had always been told there were health-related reasons for requiring feet to be covered (and, FYI, it was about 55° this morning)
These are not acceptable ways for my children to behave. I and my wife, as parents, have a God-given responsibility to bring them up to be Christ-like—to be salt and light in a sinful world. To put them in an environment where they are both influenced by so many kids like these, and implicitly taught that such things are acceptable, is to have the opposite effect.

Although some will argue that one can be a Christian, and still be Christ-like, while a public school student (and, yes, there are examples of this), I cannot in good conscience put my children where both the implicit teaching and the numerous examples of their peers influence them in that direction.

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