Easy (education) Question Number 2
I don't think this one is so easy. It requires a bit of reflection, but nonetheless, the Alliance for the Separation of School and State asks a two-part question:
What was your school experience?
Public school. And daycare. And I was a latch-key kid in elementary school. My parents weren't Christian. I became a Christian at 18. (Ironically, my parents became Christian about the same time.)
Do you feel that your school experience improved you morally, damaged you, or had no impact?
I think I mostly got my values and morals from my parents. They were reinforced in school although not so directly. My friends were predominantly Catholic or Christian, but shared the same basic values although I did frequently engage in debates with them regarding their religious views.

My high school was pretty big with over 900 students in my class. It was somewhat urban, at least as urban as you can get in a city with only 200,000 people, and we were subjected to routine locker searches for drugs and weapons. It was the subject of some small amount of controversy. If I remember correctly, we all had to open our lockers and stand against the wall while police and school staff quickly went down the row of lockers. The lockers weren't our property, the school told us, so we could not object. "Everything in there is mine," I thought, but mostly I just considered it a waste of time. Even I knew when the searches were to take place ahead of time, and couldn't imagine anyone dumb enough to keep that kind of stuff in school, although I did once witness a drug deal in the Commons. In some ways, I was an unwilling participant, but that is another story.

We had armed police in the school. Our favorite officer stood near the front doors and stood over 6 foot. We called him Butch and spent mornings before class trying to get him to react to us. He was like the Queen's Guard, standing with no expression for hours on end and never engaging in conversation.

Another item of controversy was the bible. This little book was considered contraband, although nothing ever came of it. We weren't supposed to bring them to school, I knew that much, but they weren't confiscated, either. Out of some vague protest, I bought a small New Testament and kept it in my purse. I might occasionally forget my school books, but I always had my bible. In fact, you were more likely to find me reading it than any of my God-fearing friends. It was a source of quite a few interesting conversations at speech meets until somebody stole it.

Yes, someone left my purse and everything of material value in it, but took my bible. That seemed an odd irony.

I loved the speech team. My main events were discussion and impromptu, although I did participate in some debate. I spent a great deal of time researching for my events, and the speech coach eventually gave me his pass book so that I could write myself passes any time I felt that my time could be served better preparing for my event than sitting through class. What privilege!

At any rate, the minor infringement of our rights by school officials and the curious position religion held in school led me to develop a stronger sense of rights, and particularly of the importance of property rights. I gained more respect for religious discourse in general. In short, I learned tolerance because the school was intolerant, and I never saw provocation for its intolerance.

I think I must just be rebellious by nature, because it was due to a pretty liberal history teacher that I became quite conservative.

Take a moment to read Grizzly Mama's public school experience. Feel free to share your experiences!

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