Following the recent student walkout at Grants Pass High School and North Middle School, District 7 Board Member Gary Richardson said, “The school district becomes the parent when a child is dropped off at school or climbs into a school bus.”
This was a reference to the doctrine of in loco parentis, which is the Latin phrase meaning “in place of parents.” When parents entrust their children to a public or private school, they give up certain authority over their children, i.e., what will be taught to them, and the school accepts the responsibility to keep the children physically safe.
Hidden Valley High School recently made the news when two female students attacked another female student in the girls’ locker room. Another female student filmed the attack, and the video made onto social media and local TV news. This led to more discussion on social media with many stories told about bullying in local public schools. The physical safety of children is in jeopardy when bullying is tolerated or minimized.
The academic advancement of children is slowed when students are worried about physical abuse or what’s happening in the restrooms.
Are you satisfied with the current education of your children or grandchildren? If yes, well, that’s great.
For a growing number of parents, however, they want the public schools to improve so their children’s education will improve.
If the school district is the “parent in your place,” can you wait for public schools to improve?
Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” This is true regardless of who trains up a child.
If teachers train up your children in the wrong way, it’s likely they won’t depart from this learning as they grow older. You may not realize this until your children approach adulthood.
How can you help local public schools improve?
One way is to attend school board meetings and make public comments on issues before the board. You can also report on matters discussed and post them inside the Eagle News Forum. You can report them to me, and they might make it into one of my daily update emails or a future edition of the Josephine County Eagle.
A huge way to help is to run for school board where you would participate in setting district policies and in the selection of the district superintendent, which happens once a decade or so. You can also represent your neighbors/taxpayers regarding the best use of the resources allocated to the district.
Over time, your participation in your local school board can make a huge difference to students in the future.
Yet your children deserve the best possible education – now. They need an education that will inspire them to greatness, engage them on a multitude of topics and fill them with knowledge they can use in life after graduation. Learning marketable skills would be a big plus as well.
Unfortunately, you won’t find this in today’s public schools, so you need to take matters into your own hands. When you do that, you recover control – and no one knows your children as well as you do.
Where can you find this type of education? You may find openings for your children at a local private school. Call them and ask questions about what they teach and if there are openings in your children’s grades.
How about homeschooling? Forget about the “distance learning” of public schools during the 2020-21 school year. That’s not homeschooling!
One place to find homeschooling options is inside the Eagle News Forum. I pinned a post at the top of the news feed: Education Options. This lists numerous homeschooling options as well as local private schools.
You should also ask other parents what they are doing. Is there a homeschool group at your church? Ask around. Lurk about on social media and you’ll find homeschooling families in our county.
Look for homeschooling co-ops. I attended a homeschool Christmas program down in Jackson County. Over 50 children K-6 participated. Over 300 parents were in the audience. This hybrid program meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays when moms drop off their children for group learning. Mom teaches on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at home.
You’re not being selfish to put your children’s education first. It’s your responsibility. You may also feel called to help improve our local public schools. That’s a fine goal, and you’ll do a better job of making suggestions when you have a few years of homeschooling under your belt.
Richard Emmons is the publisher and editor of the Josephine County Eagle.