As much as public school has to offer, one thing is very clear: They do not protect the innocence of our children. Perhaps in an attempt to enlighten or to expose students to what they're eventually going to be exposed to anyway, it seems few topics are off limits. Add to this the fights, profanity, and talk of sex and drugs they witness in the hallways, at the lockers and on the bus, my kids are certainly getting an education! Last week a boy in my daughter's class wrote a front page story for our local paper about being gay and coming out. He's only 14.
I'm no Puritan who's calling for restoration of 16th century sensibilities. I know all of these issues are a part of our world, but when it comes to our children, once their innocence is gone, it's gone. Schools (society and parents) have tossed children into a sea of adult themes forgetting they don't yet know how to swim or even discern if the water's polluted. Collectively our moral responsibility has been hijacked in the name of social acceptance, political correctness and progressiveness. "Times are different now," we tell ourselves.
A high school near me has been in the news recently because they added R-rated movies— featuring scenes of sex, drug use, violence and suicide—to their curriculum. Some of the parents object saying the movies are gratuitously vulgar and softly pornographic. They're raising a fuss with the school board and they're losing. The parents have been maligned as being intolerant, repressed and promoting censorship. Squares out-of-touch with the times.
Yesterday a local columnist wrote about last week's school board meeting when a young "square" confronted the board, teachers and students during the public comments. His words left most speechless. And many angered.
Here's an excerpt of the column, as reported by J.D. Mullane of the Courier Times:
Kilby was cut off by the school board president. Outside the auditorium, Kilby told the reporter he felt compelled to speak when no other student did.
"It's hard to say anything on moral grounds when the teachers define the terms," Daniel Kilby, 24, said. "They're defining what morality is. They're defining what good is. They're defining what is evil also. And I want to also mention how many things have been censored through the history of American education.
"The history of American education within the past 40 years mostly has censored the Judeo-Christian world view. Have you guys every heard of 'Pilgrims Progress'? C.S. Lewis' 'Mere Christianity'? These are all works banned on religious grounds. Have you ever heard of G.K. Chesterton?
"Censorship is a problem coming from both (sides). As a Christian - I'm not afraid to say it - I am appalled by the things that are being censored in public schools. The Bible. (There are educators who) have told Christians who have brought the Bible to quiet reading time that they're not allowed to bring the Bible to quiet reading time. And the evil ..."
Kilby added that "evil" - as understood in epic Western literature - was defined by the Bible.
"They want these kids to believe that they're opening them up to the world, to experiences that are needed to function in the workplace or wherever," he said. "They are really opening them to the dark parts of the world. Why aren't they emphasizing the good of human nature? The revolutionary ideas that take all that evil we just heard (is) in those movies, and turn it to good, which is even more compelling. It's more powerful than the darkness of sex, drugs, rape, suicide and all. But let's face it, there is a mindset in the culture that sees evil as more thrilling and captivating than good.I want to find this young man and give him a hug—for his words, his courage and his conviction. I talk about living faith out loud, of being a light in the darkness, of defending the faith. But he actually DID it. And in a very public way, at the expense of ridicule, threats and chastisement.
"Someone has to stand up for it. Well, you saw them, how they looked at me. The person standing up for good is the revolutionary now," he said.
Reading his remarks sobers me to how complacent I am. I wouldn't have spoken up like he did. I'd followed the story in the paper and those thoughts weren't even in my head. While I think I'm wise of the ways of the world, the reality is I've become far too tolerant and accepting of "societal norms" and of thinking that's just the way life is now.
I don't want my children to live in a bubble, fearing the "world" and cursing the darkness. But, how can I equip them to be a light in the world, when I myself can't recognize the gray?