(Originally posted on my other blog 11-19-2007)
After going through public school myself, I worked in the school system from the time I was sixteen until I was twenty four years old. I was an aide in special education classes, taught speech and language to preschoolers, worked with mentally and physically disabled people from birth through adult, and was sign language interpreter. I have worked in many, many different schools in two states and saw many things that disturbed me.
Even before I had made a commitment to Christ, my husband and I KNEW that out children wouldn't go to public school. Since we met when I was fifteen and he had just turned sixteen, we were able to grow together to that decision as I worked and shared my experiences with him.
Besides the obvious reasons relating to being Christians, being sure then Lord called US, and not the State to teach our children, and not wanting all our values undermined and ridiculed at school, some of my experiences helped form our decision:
I saw kids as young as fifth grade making out "on the sly" during recess. Kids in first and second grade had "boyfriends" and held hands.
There was a pregnant 12 year old in one class.
I interpreted high school lessons that made me wish I could afford to stand up and walk out. Disturbing values clarification taught before my very eyes, and going off my fingers into the brain of a teenager. I *wish* I had been brave enough to refuse to interpret that stuff...
I saw a first grader stab another first grader with a pencil in between the eyes. It was done in anger because the victim answered a question the stabber could not. By the grace of God the pencil hit the bridge of the boys nose and did not go in his eye.
I saw the Pledge removed from the morning routine in a fourth grade classroom. The memo from the principal said not to mention it, just stop doing it. And we did. And not one child asked about it, nor did any teacher do anything more than complain in the staff room for a day or two. Nor did I do anything...
I saw the special education kids be herded out after lunch time to clean the campus. Regular kids would throw their trash all around, leave half eaten food on tables, gum on the ground, spit everywhere... just generally trash everything, and then go to class when the bell rang. Out came the "re*ards" to clean up. Every day, day in and day out. Is that what the parents sent their kids to school to do? Be unpaid janitors? They called it "Life Skills" and gave the students class credit for their time served. Sheesh!
One teacher stands out in my memory. He wished-outloud- that a particular students mother had aborted him. Told him the world would be better off without him. Can you imagine?
I could go on and on. Please don't get me wrong...most of the teachers were great people, and really cared about the students. They just had to teach the worse things! The relationships between the kids were just sad. You could see the way kids were "classed' as early as kindergarten. The nerds, the popular ones, the tough ones...so sad! The loving teachers couldn't do much about it, either. The class hierarchy reigned.
I'm so glad the Lord used my years there to shape me and ready me to teach the gifts He would give me in the future. He showed me the gutter so I wouldn't end up sending my kids into it!
This post, by the way, was inspired by Ginger at Clark Chatter. Thanks for your great blog!