The Early Show on CBS is coming on just about the time I am leaving the house each morning. I usually have just enough time to catch the news broadcast and the previews and see if there is anything worth watching or reading about later on before I’m out the door so that I can make a stop at the coffee shop on the way to work. This morning, I stuck around long enough to watch the interview with 17 year old Tyler Frost, the student at Heritage Christian School in Findlay, Ohio who was suspended for attending the senior prom of another school where his girlfriend is a student.
It is hard to understand why this warrants such national attention from the media. There is a message in that, though I’m not really sure I get what it is. Holding up those who break laws and rules as heroes is a long standing Hollywood tradition that has obviously crept into the practical thinking of many Americans. The fact that we have 9 million illegal immigrants in this country, and a prevailing attitude that, in spite of the fact that their very presence here is an indication of a violation of the laws of this country, which were put in place by a democratically elected government expressing the will of the people, is evidence that our thinking in such matters has eroded. I would imagine that, by the sheer number of private, Christian schools and students who attend them, this is not the only rule violation or disciplinary action that has taken place this year. I wouldn’t even begin to guess why this particular incident is getting so much attention.
The issue is not whether dancing is right or wrong. The issue is that young Mr. Frost, as a student at Heritage Christian, agreed to abide by the rules of the school he attended, and apparently both he and his parents signed their agreement to them. Faced with a choice of violating one of those rules, and given plenty of advance warning regarding what the school’s course of action would be if he made that choice, he went to the prom with his girlfriend. The school then resp0nded with the consequences already written down, and previously agreed to by Tyler and his parents.
And that should be the end of it.
But instead, we are now subject to several days of news media coverage, appearances on several network news programs, and a discussion, not focused on the fact that Tyler Frost chose to violate a rule he agreed to as a student at his school, and now doesn’t want to face the consequences of his choice, but on judging Heritage Christian’s rules and questioning the reasoning behind them. The school and its leadership is being characterized as narrow minded, restrictive and unfair for doing nothing more than enforcing a rule which reflects the convictions, beliefs and values upon which it was founded, and by which it operates. It is a private school, which means that enrollment is voluntary and conditional, and that students are not accepted unless their parents are in full agreement with the school’s policy. It certainly seems very inconsistent for a parent to place their student in a school such as Heritage Christian and then undermine the values that the school was teaching by threatening to sue them over their enforcement of a rule that was agreed to when the student was enrolled. That concept, however, is being effectively censored from the media presentations.
This isn’t about whether dancing, or attending a prom, is right or wrong. It is about whether your word is good or not. Tyler Frost owes his principal and his fellow students a huge apology.