The national news media has, since Friday, been starting to pick up a minor story from Heritage Christian School of Findlay, Ohio, which told a student that he would be suspended if he chose to attend the public school prom. The student, one Tyler Frost, defied the school, attended the prom, and received the suspension today.
A couple of media stories can be found here and here. As is almost expected these days, the student's dad is threatening to sue if the suspension is not lifted.
Naturally, most people today have no understanding about why the school made this decision, or why it has the policy in the first place. Most will not bother reading what the school has to say about the matter. The majority of the public feedback so far favors Tyler.
The majority is wrong.
There are several key facts in the case:
- First of all, Tyler and his parents signed a statement of cooperation each year. Regardless of their personal feelings toward the school policies, they agreed to abide by them. Tyler has attended Heritage Christian since kindergarten, and his grandmother is a teacher there. There were no surprises.
- The school's policy regarding proms (and such) is consistent with the school's view of the Bible and the school's understanding of, and teaching about, Christian living. Attendance at a prom is incompatible with Christian living. Tyler knew this.
- Tyler and his parents are dragging the school's reputation as far down as they can, and are bringing a lot of unnecessary, unwarranted, and negative media coverage upon the school. Quite frankly, in my opinion, for this alone Tyler should be expelled.
- Tyler's behavior is nothing short of defiant rebellion. He, with the willing support of his parents, is parading his defiance for all to see. This is entirely inappropriate where lawful authority is concerned, and all the more galling when intentionally done in front of a world which has very little understanding of God or of obedience. Tyler probably claims to be a Christian, but his actions portray something else.
As a footnote, I know a few folks who are affiliated with HCS. The school has had an excellent all-around reputation for a long time. I would be quite pleased to put my children in that school if we lived anywhere near Findlay, Ohio. I'd even be happy to teach there.