Advice for Parents of Kids in Public Schools
In public school in the 90’s, I learned to make friends, enjoyed sports, learned how to interact with adults, learned perseverance by walking home from school in the rain and snow, and even a little bit of self-defense from bullies (I was the skinny kid with glasses, so…you know how that goes).
It was also in public school that I clearly saw how the world worked; what it loved, treasured, and sought for satisfaction - I learned that I was part of that world, and the world was in me. I needed a transformation through the gospel, because like 1 John 2:16-17 says, "all that is in the world (including my sinful unregenerate self) - the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and the pride of life...is from the world...and the world is passing away along with its desires." When the Lord saved me as a young teenager, it was in part because I knew that what I saw in the world was not satisfying, and what I learned in school did not provide the deep profound answers to the questions that I had - only God's Word did. So, it was in that context that I saw the world for what it was, and to see my heart for what it was - an idol factory. Then, in public school I learned to love those who were slaves to sin, like I was, and to show them Christ - that became my purpose for finishing public high school. It wasn't horrible; certainly not perfect (no student, school, or teacher is!). By God's grace, I was spared from many of the traps and troubles that many kids are sucked in to during my public school years.Things have changed: the political agenda in many parts of the country for public education is clearer now; human depravity is more and more obvious; the social pressures to confirm are great and the stakes are higher.
But, some things have not changed. One unchanging truth is that as Christian parents we must develop deep convictions about what our job is as parents. It is our job to "bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4), and to nurture them to know the Lord. it is our job to make wise informed decisions for our families, and to not just go along with with is easy, free, or common. Every decision has a cost, and it is up to us to count that cost (in this case, there are trade offs for every schooling choice). As parents we count the cost for things in relation to our kids.
Looking back, I'm thankful that my parents had us skip the “human growth and development” unit, and instead opted to talk with us personally about reproduction, etc. With five boys in my family (no girls) you can imagine there were lots of questions. Not only was reproduction discussed, but other topics that would have been completely inappropriate and harmful for a 10 year old to be exposed to. My parents kept me out of those and taught me on their own. Now, the full array of LGBTQ issues are not only being trained into employees, but in many cases pushed in the classrooms and in the counseling offices of public schools. There are many teachers and aministrators who push back, and don't want what is being forced on them - we thank God for those! And we pray for their endurance.
The reality is that the pressures and world agendas are here to stay in the public school system, and more is coming. We need not fear, but be aware, prepared, and ready to meet the full force of this generation’s sins; specifically in the realm of gender identity, transgenderism, etc. The kids are the target, and we must know that as we prayerfully consider where and who will participate in the education of our kids - of whom parents have the first duty.
So, here is some sound advice from a former Public School nurse (to Christian parents sending their children to public school), as we consider teaching our children, and all that comes with that. If we are going to place our kiddos in public (and even charter school, potentially), here is a “must know” checklist for parents to walk through:
Know the teacher(s) including the librarian
It sound advice
- Try to discern their beliefs, values, or even if they might be a Christian. You could ask for a meeting to take a tour of their class(es).
- Some “red flags” to look for: pride flags or stickers in the classroom, any books about gender in the library, etc.)
- Keep in mind that teachers can refer students to the counselor, and this leads to why you should…
Know the counselor/school psychologist
- Most school counselors have secular training (“social emotional learning” [SEL], which is not biblical and full of worldly psychologically godless content, including all the modern LGBTQIA+ and gender agenda
- Parents must opt-out of counseling services in writing, which is advised even in many schools in our conservative area
- Advise your student to not complete surveys that may be sent to them from their teachers or administrators – schools must have parental consent. Parental rights include being informed of the nature and administration of such surveys.
- Be aware of lunch time groups or activities sponsored by the counselor - there are examples in the state of these being venues for the counselors to have conversations with students about LGBTQIA+ issues, gender pronouns, and other sensitive topics that are inappropriate and destructive.
- Be aware of after school programs (ex “The Landing Spot” in Placer count - (https://www.abc10.com/article/entertainment/television/programs/to-the-point/placer-county-pastor-cleared-of-wrongdoing/103-80f3c4f7-eed6-42cf-a991-05e2f74badd2)
- In elementary, counselors visit the classrooms to teach mini-sessions on friendships, conflict resolution, etc. Parents must ask what the curriculum is, and make sure they know what is being said, or make sure to opt your kiddos out of those meetings.
Know the school nurse
- Credentialed school nurses usually teach “family life” in 4th/5th grade. Curriculum is board-approved and must meet state standards.
- The California Association of School Nurses fully supports the LGBTQ agenda. As well as the CA Teachers Association.
- If you do allow your child to see the counselor ensure it is purely for academic reasons, like class schedule, etc.
- Opt-out of “family life” in writing, or request to watch the family life videos to screen the content
- Depending on the district, the 5th grade teachers teach family life content.
- The science teachers teach family life in 7th grade and the curriculum is graphic; teaches about gender identity, sexualities, etc.
Know the principal(s)
Tim Challies said it well:
"We benefit also from knowing teachers and from pressing them to understand what children are being taught and what ideology is behind it."
As parents, whatever we decide is the right direction for our children's schooling (season by season - because we may all public, private, or home school at some point!), we must remember that God is sovereign - not us. God saves - not grades. Christ is supreme - not Satan. So, whatever we decide, we do it by faith, with wisdom from God's Word and godly believers, and we stay humble about our decisions - not mandating that others must do what we do. But, I do believe that we must prayerfully consider the above ideas like never before, as/if we engage in the public school setting. One more helpful quote from our friend Tim Challies:
"We have encountered many teachers [and principals] over the past ten years, and our experiences have almost all been very positive. It is easy to caricature teachers as being unapologetic leftists or vile perverts who are out to corrupt and destroy our children. But we have found that teachers love our kids and take joy in their success. When we have expressed concern over any part of the curriculum, the teachers have been very eager to show it to us and to ensure we are comfortable with it. In our experience the caricatures have been unfair. We do far better to regard the teachers as our friends and allies." Get to know them, and stay engaged, parents.
And don't forget the church. As I went through public school, I was deeply involved and engaged in my local church where I grew with friends and youth leaders and pastors who loved me. Don't despise your church's efforts to partner with you in discipling your kids as they provide children's ministry, and youth discipleship. Let the godly people of your church rub off on them, and help them to see that this is exactly what they need.