By Lisa Cherry
Standing against the cultural flood is very hard for our kids! I was proud of Hannah and her hard fought battle to turn in a satisfactory argumentative English paper. Arguing that the children's book King and King should be banned from primary classrooms was a tough project when the teacher greatly disagreed with her stance.
But Hannah had done all she had known to do. Grown the paper to fourteen research citations instead of the required five, added two extra pages of argumentation, and altered her wording to sound professional and unbiased. The only thing left was the final grade.
Did Hannah's paper alter her teacher's views that the book should be read to 5-8 year olds? Apparently not, as the final comments indicated. However, her work was not in vain. She learned a lot about strengthening her argumentation skills as well as how to stand up to
Please note Hannah was not able to use God or His word in this argument. Her three persuasive points were:
The book King and King should be banned from the public school classroom because:
- It causes gender confusion
- It leads to homosexual experimentation
- It undermines parental rights
I have included below two excerpts from the paper. It seems this teacher was very concerned about Hannah's reasoning to the point of accusing her of quoting out of context, which she didn't.
In this culture, we will need to be able to counter the faulty reasonings of this paper. Are you ready? Have you and your family taken time to look at this issue of homosexuality from a Biblical point of view? Click here for a parent/child interactive book.
Her final grade??? 93%!
Her final grade of courage and faith: A also!
I was pleased about the way Hannah's grade worked out, though I realize not every situation like this works out this well. What I am most grateful for is that Hannah did not cave into the pressure to change her view. She held her ground and stayed true to her convictions.
Here are two sample sections of Hannah's paper. You will note the teacher's comments in brackets. Below each section are the responses I would make to the reasoning. Hannah and I hope sharing this will help all of us to think about these important issues more!!!
In the book King and King, it depicts a picture of the two princes kissing. [Misplaced modifier.] If by seeing and reading books children learn, then by seeing this picture in a positive light, children learn that it is positive. “…If a book is intended to serve an educational function, such as teaching children something new about the real world or having children use their real world knowledge to identify a picture in a book, then the nature of the pictures in the book should receive careful consideration. This is especially important, given the prevalence of cartoon books for very young children, even for books apparently designed to promote learning about the real world” (Ganea). Therefore, learning does not come just from the text in the book, but the pictures as well. Reading, hearing, and seeing books affect children’s development and learning, and must be done with great attention. [So?]
This book can be viewed as a form of early sex-education, as it is introducing homosexual marriage to children who may or may not have seen it before. [Actually, it is more like introducing them to interacial marriage.] Loosely defined, sex education is “the study of the characteristics of beings; a male and female”(qtd. In De La Mare). Therefore, any topic that falls under this guide can be considered sex education. [Kind of a stretch isn’t it?] However, this type of “education” differs from the teaching of reading or history because, according to writer of Brigham Young University Law Journal, Dean Byrd, “A strong case can be made that sexuality education is not simply limited to the transfer of information to children but extends to other areas of development such as social/emotional and moral development”(Byrd). Sex education differs from other education is this manner and therefore should be approached with caution and attention. [The book does not teach about sex or include any sexual content.]
For years[,] arguments have ensued over the sensibility of sex education in general and to young children specifically. Dean Byrd says, “According to science, we make discoveries through the building and testing of hypotheses with a concerted effort to be unbiased”(Byrd). If this is true, and discoveries are made through testing, than [then] children who are introduced to homosexual relationships will have more of a desire to “test” them. [This doesn’t make sense. I think the quote is taken out of context.] Unlike many other basic learning tests, this one can have serious ramifications on young lives.
My thoughts on the teacher's points in the first excerpt:
1. Is she seriously saying homosexual marriage is like interracial marriage? This is what our culture is buying now!!
2. Kissing is called foreplay in sex ed books. Fore to sex. To say kissing and marriage are not sex ed!!!! Oh My!
3. The quote on testing behaviors was not out of context. Interesting that someone well-versed in scientific reasoning did not recognize or understand this argument. Why??
The American society has been based on the family since its founding. Traditionally a family has been defined as a father, mother, and children. Today, the U.S. Census Bureau still defines a family as "…two or more people (one of whom is the householder) related by birth, marriage, or adoption residing in the same housing unit.” (United States). Through the book King and King, the public school is teaching a concept of gay marriage that is still illegal in forty-two states (March 2013). A scene of someone smoking a cigarette, which is a legal act, in a children’s movie is highly discouraged; yet, this book is promoting an act that is most likely illegal in a specific child’s state and therefore not appropriate for a public funded school to recommend. [But we have history books filled with details about horrible atrocities.] Law abiding citizenship has always been the foundation of proper child education, and should continue to be so. [No comma here. So those who taught that slavery was wrong should have been censored?]
In the past, the public school systems were charged with specifically teaching children school related activities and other moral and value teachings were left to the parent. Through the book, King and King, being read in the classroom, the school has taken over more responsibilities from the parent, attempting to shape them in controversial topics which are still being debated by the adults. It is undermining parental rights by teaching concepts that are too difficult for children to understand, likely illegal in their state, and often unapproved by parents. [I think you are underestimating children.] If this book is read in the classroom to children, then it will undermine parent’s authority by stepping over the boundary of specific moral teaching.
My thoughts on the teacher's points in the second excerpt:
1. History books calls wrong things atrocities and do not recommend them. How did the teacher fail to acknowledge the book King and King was not calling it wrong....but right! So her own logic fails!
2. Underestimating 5-8 year olds???? Do we think they are not impressionable anymore?!!
You can find the other parts of this series here:
What Would You Have Done? Part 2: What to do if Your Christian Child is Persecuted