Although my daughter is only three (almost four) and has two years before she enters school, her education is foremost in my mind. The educational choices where we live are limited, but I still want the best for her. I know this is part of the reason I have been appalled and outraged when reading recent news reports regarding what is happening in public schools. Let’s take a look at two of these from the last couple of months.
SB 777—California Student Civil Rights Act
SB 777 (and AB 394 and AB 14) was signed into law by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in California last month.
What do these laws do?
SB 777 expands the credo of non-discriminatory bias on the basis of religion, race, disability, etc. in public schools to include both gender (replacing the word sex and redefining it) and sexual orientation.1 This discrimination would apply to teacher instruction, activities (e.g., sports), and instructional materials (e.g., textbooks).1 Gender, rather than being just male and female, is redefined as “a person’s gender identity and gender related appearance and behavior whether or not stereotypically associated with the person's assigned sex at birth.”1 This was done to include all students who may have desires to be the opposite gender through cross-dressing or sex changes. Sexual orientation “means heterosexuality, homosexuality, or bisexuality.”1
Also signed into law were AB 394 (Safe Place to Learn Act) and AB 14 (Civil Rights Act of 2007). AB 394 involves clarification and guidance for laws like SB 777 and others for schools, likely in the form of anti-harassment training.2 AB 14 prohibits state funding for programs that discriminate against gender and sexual orientation as defined above.3 This includes any entity such as churches, hospitals, and non-profit organizations that accept state funding to sponsor programs such as day cares, after-school programs, etc.4
It is predicted that SB 777 will lead to banishment of the words mom and dad and husband and wife in the classroom; boys being allowed to participate in girls sports, use girls restrooms, and girls locker rooms (and vice versa) if they have transgender issues; textbooks (whose publishers cater to the largest states like California and Texas) that positively portray homosexuality, bisexuality, and transgender people; and parents and students being accused of harassment for stating, for example, their belief that marriage is only for a man and woman.4
What does this mean for Christian parents of school-age students?
Karen England, director of Capitol Resource Institute (CRI), states, “With this decision, Gov. Schwarzenegger has told parents that their values are irrelevant. Many parents will have no choice but to pull their children out of the public schools that have now become sexualized indoctrination centers.”4
Randy Thomasson, president of Campaign for Children and Families, writes, “We’re calling upon every California parent to pull their child out of California’s public school system. The so-called ‘public schools’ are no longer a safe environment for children.”5
Many Christian parents will now face even tougher decisions when it comes to their children’s education. As the parent of a girl, I am horrified to think of my daughter having to share a restroom or locker room with boys (no matter what their age). Fortunately CRI is attempting to get a referendum on the ballot that would allow the state’s voters to decide on SB 777.6 Unfortunately, large states like California tend to be trendsetters in education, which may adversely affect schools nationwide.
While the California laws are aimed to lessen discrimination in public schools, by default they increase discrimination against those who use the Bible as the foundation for determining right and wrong. The values of the humanistic public schools are being placed higher then the values held by Christian parents.
King Middle School (Maine) and Contraception
King Middle School in Portland, Maine, is the first middle school in the country to offer their students a complete range of contraceptives, including condoms, birth control pills, and the birth control patch.7
What does this decision do?
The Portland School Committee voted (7–2) to allow the student health center to dispense birth controls pills and patches in addition to the already approved distribution of condoms.7 Students must have their parents permission to receive care from the health center, but the specific care they receive is considered confidential between doctor and patient and is not required to be shared with the parents.8
CBN reported: “A 2005 Maine Youth Risk Behavior Survey revealed 13 percent of the state’s middle school students have had sexual intercourse.”8 In addition, “contraceptives are available at 25 percent of 1,700 student health centers in schools [nationwide] enrolling students 11 years of age and older.”8 While the pill and patch are not effective against sexually transmitted diseases, it is hoped that the availability of contraceptives will lower the teen pregnancy rate.
What does this mean for Christian parents of school-age students?
Kelly Boggs, Baptist Press writes,
“Does King Middle School provide a safe environment in which their students can drink alcohol? Does it provide space for them to do drugs? Does King Middle School provide filtered cigarettes to its students and a place to puff away? Does it instruct its students on how to lie and cheat effectively? We all know that a certain number of kids are going to engage in the aforementioned behaviors, right? Since they are going to do it, shouldn't King Middle School help them to do so safely and effectively?”9
It is merely a slippery slope from endorsing contraceptive usage to endorsing many other immoral activities. The public school system is attempting to make sinning (in this case, pre-marital sex) easier by removing possible consequences such as pregnancy.
Once again, we see the values of students (as seen through the eyes of the humanistic public school system) as more important than the values of parents, especially Christian parents who start with the Bible as the basis for authority over their children (Ephesians 6:1; Exodus 20:12).
Why is this happening?
Although my daughter has yet to enter any school system, I get outraged and appalled just walking through the typical mega department store. In the book section, there are book covers that make even me blush. In the toy section there are make-up-laden, attitude-packing dolls with derogatory names that are set to replace Barbie. In the grocery check-out line, magazines with half-naked women and men adorn the racks. It is our society as a whole, not just the public school system, that has exalted the value of not having values, especially those values based on the Word of God. If the public school system teaches our children that they are nothing more than highly evolved animals, then no wonder children think they can decide their gender, practice homosexuality, and be promiscuous.
As Christian parents we need to stand authoritatively on our God-given right to be in authority over our children and to base what we teach them on the Word of God. That is why organizations like Answers in Genesis are so important for providing resources to better equip parents and students as they go to battle in our public schools everyday. This is a battle for the lives of our children, and we must win and take our children back!