Friday, May 08, 2009

School Rules Apply To Everyone But My Kid

If you choose to send your child to a private school, you must follow the rules of that school--whether or not you agree with them. Otherwise, you suffer the consequences.

A student at a fundamentalist Baptist school that forbids dancing, rock music, hand-holding and kissing will be suspended if he takes his girlfriend to her public high school prom, his principal said.

Despite the warning, 17-year-old Tyler Frost, who has never been to a dance before, said he plans to attend Findlay High School's prom Saturday.

Frost, a senior at Heritage Christian School in northwest Ohio, agreed to the school's rules when he signed a statement of cooperation at the beginning of the year, principal Tim England said.

The teen, who is scheduled to receive his diploma May 24, would be suspended from classes and receive an "incomplete" on remaining assignments, England said. Frost also would not be permitted to attend graduation but would get a diploma once he completes final exams. If Frost is involved with alcohol or sex at the prom, he will be expelled, England said.


The rule may be silly, harsh, or any other adjective, but it's a rule the family agreed to when the student enrolled. I'd feel differently if the rule were illegal, but it's certainly within the school's purview to regulate student conduct as it has chosen to do.

Of course, the rules are fine--until they contradict what the student wants to do. Then the school should make an exception, or should change the rule. Right, dad?

Frost's stepfather Stephan Johnson said the school's rules should not apply outside the classroom.

Of course not.

If you don't want your kid to be bound by the rules that the school can legitimately make, then don't enroll the kid there. It's as simple as that.

Update, 5/10/09: A related story over at Coach Brown's.

Update #2, 5/12/09: Hear it from the horse's mouth.

During an interview with Harry Smith, Frost explained that his private Christian school does have a contract stipulating "no dancing." However, he didn't believe it should include dancing outside of school. So, despite a stiff warning from his principal, he went to his girlfriend's prom at another school. He has since been suspended and won't be allowed to take his final exams on time or graduate with the rest of his class.

Despite this, Frost has no regrets, saying that attending his special lady's prom was both "worth the risk" and "the right decision." Frost's stepfather was also there for the interview. He didn't say much before leaving in the middle of the discussion, but he did mention that a lawsuit against the school is in the works.
The horse's mouth? Stepdad is acting like the other end. The boy broke a clear rule, knowing the consequences in advance, and dadsie's gonna file a lawsuit. Sometimes I wonder.

21 comments:

sciencectn said...

Who the hell would enroll their kid in such a school? And are there actually parents who still believe that listening to rock music and holding hands is a slippery slope to becoming a delinquent child?

nyghtewynd said...

I'm actually surprised that this was your take. It fell perilously close to the "punishment in school for actions outside of school" thing. But it's similar to the stuff that I daily deal with. On one hand they want our services as a private school. On the other hand, they want the rules of the public school. At least inside our walls, that ain't gonna happen. :)

Darren said...

Nyght, I'm glad you caught the difference. Had this been a public school, I'd have said that the school had no reason to regulate the off-campus conduct of its students. But a private school? As I said in the post two below this one, at a private school (in that case, a college) you're paying for the education but you're leasing the school's reputation. As a result, the game is different. If you don't want to play by the rules, don't expect to get the benefit of the school's name.

maxutils said...

Rules like that are religious, superstitious nonsense. I hope he and Kevin Bacon have fun at the prom.

Love it or leave it said...

In this day and age, it's refreshing to see religious schools flaunting their backward (and back-woods) ways. Atheists love this stuff. We root for the school and against the student's desires... just like Darren!

We also root for the Pope when he unleashes his latest draconian doctrine and demands the obedience of the masses.

If you don't like it (and wake up: you really shouldn't like it), get out. Enjoy a little sunshine, and join the modern world. Be warned though: it's complex, and doesn't lend itself to simple, cookie-cutter solutions. If that's what you want, stay in Baptist school.

Mrs. C said...

I didn't see the school as being unreasonable at all. I think the rock music thing is a little bit strict though as my children are allowed to listen to Christian rock occasionally (I'm a liberal that way). But whatever.

Stopped Clock said...

I think I'd have to be on the kid's side this time, if he didn't enroll there voluntarily but only at the will of his parents.

MikeAT said...

“I think I'd have to be on the kid's side this time, if he didn't enroll there voluntarily but only at the will of his parents.”

You cut your own argument there Stopped Clock. He’s the kid, not the adult. He can’t enroll voluntarily, he’s seventeen. Where he goes to school is not his decision, but his parents.

Once he gets on his own and pays his own bills, he can make the decision, and more to the point, suffer the consequences. It’s called life.

MiddleSchoolSecretary said...

"I don't see (dancing and rock music) as immoral acts," Craig Kupferberg said."

He's clearly not been to a school dance in years. Unless he doesn't consider kids having sex on a dance floor immoral.

I think it's crazy that they decided the kid couldn't even graduate over this. Since the private school principal took it to a committee to decide what would happen, I think there may have been rules against it but no consequences listed for breaking the rule. I'm not sure it would be reasonable to suspect that if you went to another school's dance you wouldn't graduate at all.

I guess I'd want to see what the parents signed before I made a judgment on it.

Rhymes With Right said...

Private schools, private rules -- even if those rules are stupid and offensive to reasonable people.

But then again, I always argued that the federal government had no business intervening when Bob Jones University (an oxymoron if there ever was one) forbade interracial dating.

Dustin Scott said...

The whole concept is outrageous. He shouldn't've signed the contract; but, since he did, he cannot break the contract.

I believe he deserves the consequences for breaking the rule, even though I don't believe in it (the rule).

And, Mrs. C, as for you saying that your children are "are allowed to listen to Christian rock occasionally," is purely psychotic and controlling. Give them a break: It's the overly controlling, overly worried, and overly protective parents like you that are creating a terribly weak future society for the United States of America.

Not to mention, if you feel that you are so superior to minors that you can the one to decide what people should listen to, you happen to be infringing on my own personal rights.

Why is that okay to you?

Rhymes With Right said...

Dustin -- last time I checked, it was not only acceptable for parents to set limits for their children, but also expected. Indeed, one of the big problems we as teachers face is that too many parents have failed to do so, and we therefore get children who don't believe that any authority figure has any right to set any limits on their behavior. For Mrs. C to have established such rules for her kids is therefore not a sign of her being controlling, psychotic or fascist -- it is a sign of her being a responsible parent.

Now I agree that the rule in this story is stupid -- but this private school has every legitimate right to set it and enforce it against those students who are enrolled in it. The situation would be different if it were a public school. But let me ask you this -- why do you believe that tee government should be the one to establish all rules for all schools, no matter what set of ethics that school is trying to instill? Isn't that significantly more controlling, psychotic, and fascist than any attempt by Mrs. C to teach her children the values she believes are correct (or the private school in question is seeking to teach its students)? Why do YOU believe that YOU are so superior that YOU get to decide for everyone?

maxutils said...

A thought occurred to me -- the only thing stupider than the rule is the fact that the boy apparently told his school that he was going to do it. If he keeps his mouth shut, they never know. Unless they attend the dance themselves, in which case they are both guilty and hypocrites.

Mrs. C said...

Thank you, Rhymes with Right.

I'd certainly be open to any argument that it would be best that my children listen to other rock music because (reason) much more than the "I think you're psychotic" argument.

Just one of my little quirks.

Rhymes With Right said...

Oh, the reason the kid told the school is because, like a number of schools I know, the school hosting the prom requires verification of enrollment at another high school.

Dustin Scott said...

I never said that I wanted the government to control anything in my comment.

Not sure where Rhymes With Right came up with that.

Setting limits is perfectly fine.

My parents have limits placed on my brother and I.

However, instead of outright telling us that we can't do something, they are willing to be involved in our lives and teach us what is wrong with something and guide us. A good parent would never simply not allow something harmless like rock music.

That is controlling: That is wrong.

What is good parenting is being involved. But when someone (anyone, I could care less if it's a parent) goes and says, "Hey Johnny, I think that Led Zeppelin and Journey will corrupt your mind and turn you into a bad person, so you need to turn that off and listen to polkas like the rest of us perfect and superior life forms," they are in fact doing the wrong thing.

Being involved, loving, and having limits on behavior (behavior, not influences) are the actions that good parents take.

It is the parents, not the media, that makes children turn out good or bad.

I listen to rock music. I listen to rap music. I play violent video games.

Our society (well, the older generation in our society) views all of these in a negative light and believes that I am doomed to be a bad kid.

I also listen to country music. I also listen to classic rock. I also listen to classical music. I also play video games that are completely non violent.

None of these influences have turned me into what I am today. Well then, what did?

My parents. They did an outstanding job with me. They are involved and taught me what is the right thing.

One lesson that Mom taught me? That whatever I see on tv, hear on the radio, or watch in a movie theater is not how I am supposed to act. I am supposed to act as a respectable young adult, the way that they taught me. NOT the way that the media around me taught me to be.

That is how parents should be.

Dustin Scott said...

And one more thing.

I'd like proof that music or video games has any effect on the behavior of people.

You REALLY want to take this route, Mrs. C?

Anonymous said...

dustin, how old are you? did your parents teach you to respect people that are older than you?

from reading your comments, i'd say they failed miserably at that.

and mrs. c. never said she blindly tells her children that rock music is wrong. perhaps her children (who seem to be under 12 by her picture) aren't ready for all that rock music would expose them to. and, just maybe, she's not saying it's evil sin (although, if she is -- it's her right to say that. fyi. free speech and religion and all that. you don't have to agree. she's not coming to your house and making you follow her beliefs. just her own kids. which is within her rights.) maybe, she's just saying that the lyrics and lifestyle that the rockers/rappers live is not matching her own morals -- which would match what you said about teaching you what's wrong with something and guiding you.

if you want proof that the media changed behavior/mindset -- come live and work with inner city kids. it's not the conservative, rule setting parents that are ruining America's future. it's the uninvolved parents that allow their children to think that "rock of love" and "girls next door" and "springer" are the norm for society, the norm for relating to people.

maia_orual

maxutils said...

There's nothing in rock music that can corrupt a child. There is something in gaining an appreciation for any music, or literature, or cinema that can spark an interest that can benefit a child.

Obviously, Mrs. C can set whatever boundaries she wishes for her children; I firmly believe that a boundary as broad as "don't let them listen to rock music" is ridiculous, close minded, and not conducive to creating a good open relationship with the child. The idea that they are granted an occasional 'treat' of CHRISTIAN rock music merely highlights this. The idea that Christian = good, and non-Christian = bad is ridiculous and prejudice. Were I to say I let my children listen to music, except for that made by blacks, I would hope and expect people to rip me a new one for being prejudiced, AND for being musically illiterate.

I won't personally attack Mrs. C, but I will say that it greatly saddens me to know that her children are being prevented from hearing a lot of wonderful tunes that have brought me a lot of joy. And, not turned me into a hoodlum.

I believe I mentioned religious, superstitious nonsense in my first comment. It's funny how often that seems to apply.

Anonymous said...

the music in and of itself is not bad. it's the lyrics that give people pause.

i heard a song by nickelback that included lines like "the girls come easy and the drugs come cheap," "get a front door key to the playboy mansion," "gonna date a centerfold," "pop my pills from a pez dispenser" the list could go on. frankly, those lyrics don't exactly promote moral living.

music appreciation is kind of a lame reason to justify listening to crappy lyrics. especially when there are so many more genres of music to appreciate than rock. i highly doubt that children who listen to rock are being exposed to a broad range of music and that their parents are discussing music appreciation -- or even the morals in the music, for that matter -- with their children.

and maxutils -- what brings you joy will not necessarily bring everyone else joy. you enjoying a style of music does not necessitate everyone else finding joy in it.


and, your right about the prejudice thing. but that's a prejudice you will encounter in all religions -- not just christianity. most religions involve some sort of
exlucivity. i know you can't handle that, but i'm just saying -- it's not just christianity.

last of all, i find it interesting that most people will preach tolerance for every topic and issue and religion and opinion -- unless it falls under the category of christian. if an item is in any way related to christianity it must NOT be tolerated -- in fact, it must be furiously condemned. preaching tolerance except where it's related to christianity shows a lack of integrity in those preaching.

maia_orual

maxutils said...

See, it doesn't matter whether other people find joy in the music that I like. What matters is that they get to decide for themselves. I'm not sure why some Christians feel like they can't listen to certain forms of music, but whatever they want to do is fine by me. See, that's *tolerance*.
Where I have an issue is in a Christian trying to impose their beliefs upon someone else, even if it is their own child. Sure, they have the parental right to do so, but it still sucks. After all, if Christianity is such a scary-good thing, it should sell itself. And then, the children could either listen to the music and still be good Christians, or they would choose on their own not to listen to it.
And, quoting out of context Nickleback lyrics will probably not win you very many debates.