A student of a Christian high school in Findlay, Ohio was suspended from school for attending prom with his girlfriend who attends a public high school.
It seems that the fundamentalist Baptist high school that Tyler Frost attends forbids dancing, rock music, hand-holding, and kissing.
The suspension will cause Frost to miss his graduation ceremony and he will not be allowed to graduate until after he completes his final exams. His stepfather is not happy and thinks that the school’s rules should not apply outside the classroom (Do they need these kinds of rules to govern what happens IN the classroom? That would be a wild class!).
Let me say a couple of things. First, I agree with many who think that the school’s rules are probably too strict. I am not a legalist and do not like the whole mindset. The school is one I would hesitate to send my children to just because of their silly rules.
However, I do think that the school has/had every right to suspend Frost. It seems that everyone is overlooking the fact that Frost and his parents signed a statement of cooperation when they enrolled in the Christian high school. The statement said that they agreed to abide by the rules of the school. If they did not like the rules, they could have chosen another school (perhaps the public school). They had other options. To decide that the rules are not agreeable to them and are unfair now misses the point. They agreed to the rules. They need to abide by them or be open to the consequences.
What are your thoughts?
Read more about this issue here.
Hmm.. I’m not so sure about this. To me it doesn’t seem logical to suspend Frost from school for something unrelated to his school. I don’t think they should have any business suspending him for what he does on his personal time. I think it’s kind of like a school with a dress code suspending a student for wearing jeans and a t-shirt on the weekend. Yes, his parents probably signed a statement of cooperation for while he is at school, or is attending school related functions, etc. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they have to implement all of the school’s strict rules at home, does it?
Actually, these types of “cooperation statements” are fairly common for Christian grade schools, colleges, and even graduate schools. Of course not all of them have the same rules, but many of them have statements that the students must sign. And yes, the rules are meant to be observed at all tmes while the student is enrolled in the school (including non-school functions and at home). Schools justify this by reasoning that the types of things that they are banning either lead to sinful lifestyles (or have a strong tendency in that direction). Even when I went to seminary, I had to sign a statement that said I would not drink alcohol or use tobacco products. I am not a big fan of those rules either (even though I do not do either), but they were things I agreed to and the rules covered the entire three years I attended the school – in class and outside of class.
So yes, the statement Tyler Frost and his parents signed would have covered his time outside of the class and he would have known that when he agreed to it.
Hm, yes, I see what you’re saying..
At the same time, though, it sounds like they’re assuming that he did the things they ban just by going to prom, which I don’t think is very fair.. it’s almost like they’re accusing him of holding hands and dancing (or whatever) just because that’s what’s socially typical of prom-goers. But if he did sign the papers and agreed to follow those rules (I didn’t realize about the statements, but assuming you’re right 🙂 ), then wouldn’t they have some trust that he wouldn’t partake in things they forbid? The sheer act of going to prom wasn’t forbidden, was it? For all we know he could have been completely innocent in his actions.
However I’m about to contradict myself because I suppose that by going he could be “encouraging” dance since a part of prom is dancing.. I guess the school could see it that way.
Haha, as you can see I’m rather open about minor stuff like this and I like discussing different sides. Do you have any more thoughts?
You wrote: “The sheer act of going to prom wasn’t forbidden, was it?”
You make a great point. Attending prom is not forbidden by the school’s cooperation statement (and yes, there is a statement – the article I linked to in the original post discusses it). The school had to assume that Frost actually danced, held hands, kissed, or listened to rock music while there. I do not know how he would avoid listening to rock music, but he could have abstained from all of the others even if he did attend prom. And I am sure we all listen to rock music almost every day, even if not intentionally.
The only problem I see in this argument is that Frost never denies doing the things he is banned from doing in any of the news articles I have read about this issue. Great point though.
I think it would be a different issue if Frost did what he did as an act of civil disobedience. If he went to the prom out of protest to the rule, I would have a lot more sympathy for him. (I already think the punishment was too strong, especially if this was his first offense).
Whatever his motive, I have a lot more tolerance for rule-breaking if done as civil disobedience. If he’s protesting an unjust rule, I totally support him.
I do not know if the punishment was too much or not. I would need more information. He was suspended for a couple of days, which seems reasonable I think. The problem is the timing of the offense and/or punishment. It comes right at the end of the school year, which means the suspension impacts this student’s graduation plans. He will not be able to walk in the ceremony because he has not finished his final exams. This seems harsh, but what are the options?
I do think the school could do a better job spelling out the punishment for breaking certain rules. It is obvious that they have no written policy as far as what the punishments are for these types of infractions. The principal admitted that he had to go to the school board to determine what should happen. I wonder if the school has had any students attend prom in the past and what the punishment was for doing so. Is the school being consistent?
As far as your statement regarding civil disobedience, I think that there is a time when such things must happen. However, I think other avenues of protest should take place first (ones that do not involve breaking rules). When a person does decide to protest a rule by breaking it, they must be willing to suffer the consequences. In fact, if the protestor was not punished, it would not help the cause of the protest because it would not stir peoples’ sympathy. So, the punishment is used as a part of the protest and should be expected (and hoped for). Reminds me of some students in Indiana who went into a bar recently… 😉
This supposedly Christian High School seems to only read what they want in the Bible. Ecclesiastes 3:1-15 talks about seasons, including “a time to dance.” Prom is a time for young people to celebrate reaching an important milestone in dance. It’s not something you do all the time, but in celebration, just as you can enjoy good wine at a wedding ceremony, but I bet this school ignores the reference to Jesus turning water into ‘good’ wine to assist in the family celebration.
Thanks for your comments regarding this topic. I am sorry I had to remove everything that was not related to the topic at hand. In the future, I would appreciate if you would limit your comments to what is being discussed. The purpose of this blog is not to advertise your website.