Not all horror stories
deserve to be published
Many of us encounter horror stories about something that happened in a "public" (i.e., government) school somewhere.
These stories pop up in the news, on the Internet, and especially in fund-raising appeals from organizations that use the tried and true method of "get'em mad and they'll send money."
We at the Alliance for the Separation of School & State have engaged very little in the horror story genre for two reasons:
1) Some of the stories are not true.
Because we at the Alliance want to be known as truth seekers, we believe it necessary to check out these stories before we publish them. This can take quite a bit of time and skill.
Some of the "best" horror stories turn out to be half-truths or even quarter-truths. This is sometimes revealed only when hearing "the other side of the story" from the teacher, principal, superintendent, or school board member close to the situation.
We have tried to exercise due diligence on the stories you will read on this website.
2) Many of the stories are situational, not systemic.
Our antipathy to school-by-government is based on basic flaws of so-called "public schooling," not on the occasional "bad apple" that is employed in the system. *
In other words, some of the horror stories, while true, represent only a single teacher or administrator going off the rails, not a systemic problem.
Example 1: Teacher Mrs. X seduces a 6th grade boy and gets pregnant. The school district fires Mrs. X and helps the justice system prosecute her. Horrid enough, yes, but it is an "isolated instance," not a reflection of district policy.
Example 2: Fifty-nine 6th grade girls are taken from class by the school nurse and given vulva examinations by a lady doctor, quite against the protestations of some of the girls. Some of the parents cause an uproar and complain at a special school board meeting. The school board defends the process; the state police and others in the justice system examine the situation and state that no crime has been committed; the school board votes that schools have this right to examine students' private parts, but assure the parents they will be better informed next time.
Example 2 is the kind of horror story that supports our contention that government schools are systemically paternalistic (abridging the rights of parents by usurping parental authority and conveying it to a government agency).
The horror stories on this website are Type 2, i.e., revealing systemic flaws.
(For the details of Example 2, see "The real lesson of the East Stroudsburg genital exam incident" in the May, 1997 issue of our newsletter, The Education Liberator.
Different Types of Horror Stories
Parents, grandparents, journalists, and other concerned citizens have a variety of concerns about government schooling and the safety of the children. Most of these concerns fall in one of four categories:
Physical safety, for instance, bullying and physical violence by other students and access to drugs.
Academic safety, for instance, children not learning to read, falling into academic slothfulness, falling behind other countries in international testing, or learning a version of history parents consider distorted.
Moral safety, for instance, becoming slothful and expecting to be advanced a grade or even given A's without putting in much effort, or by becoming prideful and self-centered under the guise of "self-esteem," or being encouraged in the sexual area to experiment earlier and more widely that parents approve.
Spiritual safety, for instance, being taught that the important questions of life regarding the origins, purpose, and eternal destiny of mankind are merely personal feelings that cannot be rationally discussed in a school setting, or being told that science has proven that mankind's origin was an accident caused by random "natural selection" of mutations.
In order to assist visitors locate the "horror stories" in the area of their concern, these stories are categorized in the above four categories.
* Perhaps you have heard Marshall Fritz' stock line on this: "When you put good people in a bad system, the system wins, often in the short-range, and for sure in the long-range."