School Sending Mixed Messages


To The Editor:


Cumberland Regional, in their effort to educate students, recently hosted Mr. Donald Dyson to speak to students on sexuality.  Unfortunately he proved to be a public speaker whose vocabulary was profoundly limited.  According to the News, he repeatedly used foul language and had to be escorted from the platform by assistant principal, Robert Vannella, after being warned to “tone it down.”  At least one student reported that she wanted to leave, and both students and parents complained about the indecency. Others thought that those of a conservative opinion should “crawl out from under their rock” and face reality. I think Mr. Dyson, and those who showered him with accolades, should crawl back under the rock from whence they came.


It seems to me that there was a situation similar to this, but educators then were adamant about allowing foul language, sexually blatant situations and violent behavior.  The students in this particular situation were younger and yet, the issues were the same.  If your memory has lapsed, I am referring to the brouhaha over the book “The Chocolate War” which stirred up controversy in the same school district just two years ago. The argument then was that it was necessary to have such a book because it was about freedom, peer pressure, being a nonconformist, and that it spoke of issues and used language students must deal with on a regular basis.  Of course this included profanity and sexual situations because those were pivotal to catching students’ attention and enticing them to read such fine literature.


Now, correct me if I am wrong (anyone?), but doesn’t this appear to be educationally bipolar.  Granted, the situations occurred in two different schools, but would someone please tell me why it is okay for junior high school students to read profanity, and be applauded for being mature, yet the very same words were considered unacceptable when spoken to an audience of older students? 


One side of the educational team ushers in profanity as literary merit, while the other shoos it away. It would be wise for the school boards and administrators to choose a position with moral integrity, and abide by it.  I applaud Mr. Vannella who had the integrity and courage to remove Mr. Dyson from the stage.  I am equally appalled at the students who gave him a rousing applause, as this just exposes the poor parenting and pitiful education that has ensconced these youngsters from day one.


In order for the schools to take a stand, they would need to hold to a standard that does not change.  A set of rules is needed.  Laws that do not waver with the flow of political correctness will suffice.  It must be a work that has stood the test of time and remains true no matter what latest theories on education are concocted. Could it be that the Bible just might be the cornerstone we are looking for?  Perhaps if God’s word once again set the example for acceptable behavior in our schools, we would find that youngsters would aspire to a higher standard.  The Bible incorporates accountability to a higher authority, and it would greatly be to our benefit to recognize that man’s standards change too frequently and are constantly lowered, resulting in degradation.  The Bible has indeed not only stood for thousands of years, but works equally as well today, as the day it was written. Once we have been convicted of our shortcomings, then our humbleness of heart prepares us for a personal relationship with the Lord which ultimately leads to a life that exhibits Christlike obedience, love and peace; three things sadly lacking in our schools.


It is high time that parents and educators stopped this seesaw morality, and began the arduous and rewarding journey of guiding our young people toward exceptional behavior. Children need direction, encouragement, and the tools to achieve biblical discernment, instead of wallowing in the profane and undignified language and lifestyles we have all become too familiar with in the lives of our young people.        




Joyce A. Meyers

March 15, 2005