Loudoun County, Virginia, has been in the news a lot lately, and not for any good reasons. You’ve probably heard, for example, about Scott Smith, who was arrested at a school board meeting in June, supposedly for being violent. What’s going on?
At the heart of all the shouting (not violence) at school board meetings (throughout the country, not only in Loudoun County) is parents’ protesting several things, including enforced mask-wearing, the teaching of critical race theory (CRT), sexually explicit material in school libraries, and transgenderism policies. In regard to transgenderism, a focal point of this is bathrooms/restrooms. The reason that Scott Smith was so enraged at that school board meeting is that a boy had put on a skirt, entered the girls’ bathroom, and done unspeakable things to his daughter.
In early October, Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a memorandum in which he directed the FBI, along with all 93 U.S. Attorneys, to meet with local law enforcement throughout the U.S. in order to address alleged threats against and intimidation of school administrators, teachers, staff, and of course school board members. Conservatives throughout the country have protested vociferously, basically asking: Who’s being intimidated now? Adding fuel to the fire, Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe said in a debate, “I’m not going to let parents come into schools and actually take books out and make their own decisions,” adding, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.” Contrast that with Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin, who said, “You believe school systems should tell children what to do. I believe parents should be in charge of their kids’ education.”
How to evaluate all of this? First of all, there has been no violence at school board meetings, at least not yet. The video you may have seen of Scott Smith being wrestled to the floor and handcuffed is the closest thing to violence so far. Do parents have the right to speak against school policies that they disagree with? The answer should be obvious if you understand the First Amendment. Should parents sometimes be more measured in what they say? Sure. However, put yourself in Scott Smith’s shoes. Do you think you could be measured if your daughter were the one who had had unspeakable things done to her? Beyond that, aren’t public-school teachers’ salaries paid for by us, the taxpayers? Doesn’t that give parents the right to speak up? It seems to me that Merrick Garland’s memo is another instance of cancel culture at work; if you disagree with those in power, they will attempt to silence you.
Going back to the two primary contenders for governor of Virginia, let’s look again at Youngkin’s statement: “I believe parents should be in charge of their kids’ education.” Compare that again with McAuliffe’s statement: “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.” Which statement comes closer to Biblical truth?
Here is what the Lord told the Old Testament Israelites in Deuteronomy. First of all, in Chapter 6:6-7, we read, “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Similarly, in Deuteronomy 11:19 we read, “Teach them [these words of Mine] to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Here’s another one, from Proverbs 22:6, which says, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” These verses, and many others like them, make it very clear that we who are Christians are responsible for teaching and training our children. I should add that while Christian schools and churches can be great places for our kids to learn about the Lord and His Word, if we are overdependent on these institutions, we are shirking our God-given responsibility.
I think the Bible makes it clear that we parents are responsible for our children’s spiritual education and training. Does this mean that we are responsible for every aspect of our children’s education? Not necessarily, but it does mean that we should be involved in our children’s schools and aware of what’s going on in their classrooms. Not surprisingly, a growing number of parents are choosing to homeschool; from 2019 to the fall of 2020, the percentage of homeschooled students jumped from 3.4% to a whopping 9%. I have no doubt that some of this is due to COVID, but I also have no doubt that some of it is due to parents getting sick of radical leftism in their children’s classrooms–and even physical danger in school bathrooms.
James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” My kids are grown, but my wife and I took this verse to heart while raising them! May the Lord give each of us wisdom as we teach and train our children.