Becca is a 16-year old from Chicago, IL. She loves screaming her lungs out on roller coasters, traveling, and volunteering in her spare time.
How big of a role should a high school play in its students’ personal lives? In May of 2009, a controversy erupted in the town of Findlay, Ohio over this exact issue. Tyler Frost, a senior at Heritage Christian School, decided to go to his girlfriend’s prom at neighboring Findlay High School. At any other high school, this would be no big deal, but Frost was immediately suspended by his principal and was not even allowed to walk at his graduation.
As it turns out, Frost’s Fundamentalist Baptist high school prohibits its students from dancing, rock-music, holding-hands, and many other “worldly” activities; Frost had held his girlfriend’s hand and danced during prom at Findlay High School. The student handbook clearly lists all the violations and consequences for these activities, which are suspension or expulsion. Frost says he knew about the consequences for his actions but he had already promised his girlfriend he would attend prom with her. He was confused by the school’s punishment but takes full responsibility for his actions. On the other hand, Frost’s parents believed the school was making a big mistake. In an interview, his father said, “I believe that when he’s in school, he needs to follow their rules fully. If he doesn’t, he needs to be punished by the school. But once he gets out of school, he needs to live by his mother’s rules and my rules.” He believes school rules shouldn’t apply outside of the classroom because at home, a parent should be setting the rules, not the school.
Tim England, the principal of the 84- student Christian school defends his actions in an interview by stating, “In life, we constantly make decisions whether we are going to please self or please God. (Frost) chose one path, and the school committee chose the other,” he says. He strongly believes that the school is doing the right thing by implementing rules that will help students live strong Christian lives, regardless of what their parents say. He explains that the parents had already known of the rules
Several parents have been angered by the actions of the school, saying forcing a student to conform to rules that they don’t agree with is unconstitutional, even if it is the school rules. Also, flustered parents say, they should be the ones making the final decisions for their kids once they leave the school campus. As parents, they should have the final say in what is and isn’t good for their children. Is it up to the parents to decide whether their kids should or shouldn’t listen to rock music or is it up to the school? The upset parents simply want their job back; they want to set the rules for their children based on their culture, their past, and their beliefs, not based on school rules that follow them home.
Frost’s parents are attempting to sue the school but for now, Heritage Christian School still says, rules are rules.