Sunday, May 10, 2009


Those were the exact words my childhood Baptist preacher gave me when I asked why our church opposed me going to my junior high dance. The evils of dancing are pretty standard in most Baptist sects.

The Heritage Christian School in Ohio has gone so far as to forbid a 17-year-old student from participating in his girlfriends public school dance. If he goes, school officials have threatened him with suspension and exclusion from attending graduation. The religious school believes it is their right to protect students in and out of school, despite parental permission. By the way, the school also forbids rock music and holding hands.

The boy does not believe prom is wrong. No one cares what he thinks, only that he thinks what they tell him to think.

What is that sound? Oh, it's the church's beliefs being crammed down the teen's throat. It should be. Jesus The War Hammer forced others to follow him or face dire consequences. Why shouldn't other Christians do the same?

I wonder if crazy Fred Phelps, the light of Christianity, went to this same Christian school as a kid?

Did these people not see Footloose?



Busplunge said...

Say, where can I get me some of those sinful gyrations?


Jason said...

So, let me get this straight. The kid and his parents sign an agreement regarding the code of conduct for a private school. The school then says it will act to exercise the discipline outlined in the code the child and parents agreed to in writing and they're the horrible people?

I don't really agree with the school's position on dancing either but the kid and his folks did agree to this school's code of conduct. They knew what it said before they signed it (or if they didn't read it then it's still on them for not knowing what they signed.)

If you had rules for your classroom and your students decided they didn't want to follow it would you just continue on as if nothing is happening?

Jack said...


The specific boy’s predicament wasn’t really the point of my post for the reason you mentioned. I do agree that the boy’s parents understood the school-church positions. I would have never taken my child to a school that tried to mandate so much behavior outside school. That was your point. I agree.

My question is much more global in scope.

Your point was valid, however. I will address your question specifically before addressing my point.

I have only one norm in my classroom: If you cause a problem for someone else, then you will need to fix it. That’s it. It works wonderfully. I don’t need an extensive list of “do not” rules to run an effective learning environment.

I also constantly evaluate my expectations to see if they are effective and necessary. Here’s an example. My father was sent home one time for not wearing a belt. That was a serious offense. One could also be sent home for having his shirttail untucked in those days.

Silly isn’t it? Of course it is. We almost mock such ridiculous rules now, but the fact is those rules would still be in effect had someone not challenged them.

A modern example is the hat. For years our society has required men to remove their hats when they go inside schools, churches and when they eat. If you pay attention, you will notice this rarely happens anymore. Some teachers still observe the rule (which is often still on the school books). Many do not. I’ve seen teachers split the difference and require a student turn his cap so that he wear his ballcap with the bill in front but not in back.

The rule is still in place, for the most part, but it is antiquated. Even in the rural Bible belt (outside Springfield), I see grown men walk into school buildings with ball caps and cowboy hats on. Therefore, the rule has become silly in the eyes of students. It no longer signifies respect because so many adults do it. That rule is slowly going by the wayside. When I first started in the business of education, I was firm about it, but my views have changed. I evaluated my rule and decided that it had no bearing on a child’s life and did not impact learning. So there was no point to the rule. Rule gone for me. I no longer correct students wearing hats.

It is my belief that challenging authority is good for us, even when we challenge the church and her teachings.

Jesus was a beautiful and intelligent mentor when he challenged the established rules of the Jewish people at the time. We know that many of those in power were angry at his dissidence and refusal to adhere to the rules. Just because something is a rule does not make it right, ethical or even Constitutional. (I’m not arguing the constitutionality of the school’s decision.)

The big picture here has little to do with this teen. That was my point. Should church-schools force religion onto the families? Should the church punish a child for something he does outside of school when he has parental permission? Should not the parental guidance trump the churches established “rules” when the student is outside the school walls? Should the church even try to mandate and force compliance outside of it’s walls?

Jesus didn't force belief. Why do our churches?

So there you have my point. This was fun. Thanks.

Jason said...

I see your point...we'll just have to disagree on this one. I don't see it as the church school forcing it's beliefs on the family because they signed the agreement. If there was no agreement on the part of the kids or parents, I'd be with you on it. As is, it's hard to say they're forcing their beliefs as the people agreed to the infringement in home life.

Anonymous said...

Did you ever wonder where the phrase, "Drink the Kool-aid" came from?