By Calvin Palmer
A fundamentalist Baptist school in Ohio will suspend one its students if he attends his girlfriend’s high school prom because the event involves rock music and dancing.
Despite the warning, issued by a school committee on Wednesday, 17-year-old Tyler Frost says he plans to attend Saturday’s dance at Findlay High School.
Frost attends Heritage Christian School, which forbids dancing, rock music, hand holding and kissing.
Heritage principal Tim England says Frost will be suspended from classes and receive an “incomplete” on remaining assignments.
He will not be permitted to attend any graduation ceremonies with his class of four students, but will receive his diploma once he completes his final exams.
If Frost “is involved with alcohol or sex” at the prom, he will be expelled from Heritage, England said.
Frost’s stepfather, Stephan Johnson, said he plans to file a lawsuit against the school.
Frost has attended Heritage Christian, a ministry of Calvary Baptist Church, since kindergarten. Other than a detention in seventh grade, Frost has never had disciplinary problems.
“He deserves to wear that cap and gown,” Johnson said.
According to the school handbook, rock music “is part of the counterculture which seeks to implant seeds of rebellion in young people’s hearts and minds”.
The school also forbids physical contact between girls and boys in grades 7-12.
Johnson believes those rules should not, and do not, apply outside the classroom. He said many students and their parents do not know the scope of the handbook’s rules.
“How many people at that school know that when country music comes on, their kid could be expelled? Ninety percent of the school could be expelled,” Johnson said.
England said Frost agreed to the school’s rules when he signed a statement of cooperation at the beginning of the school year.
“Our stand on this issue should be of no surprise to the student or his parents,” England said in a statement. “For the parents to claim any injustice regarding this issue is at best forgetful and at worst disingenuous. It is our hope that the student and his parents will abide by the policies they have already agreed to.”
England said he has never known a Heritage Christian student to attend Findlay’s prom and he has been principal for 13 years.
Findlay High School requires students attending prom from other schools to get a signature from their principal.
England signed the form for Frost, but told him there would be “consequences” if he attended the dance, Frost said.
“I expected a short lecture about making the right decisions and not doing something stupid,” Frost said. “I thought I would get his signature and that would be the end.”
Instead, England took the issue to the school committee, made up of church members, where they decided to suspend Frost.
“In life, we constantly make decisions whether we are going to please self or please God. Frost chose one path, and the school committee chose the other,” England said.
Craig Kupferberg, the principal of Findlay High School, said he respects but does not agree with Heritage Christian School’s view of prom activities.
“I don’t see dancing and rock music as immoral acts,” Kupferberg said.
I take it the Heritage school motto is not “Let the good times roll”.
And well done Mr England for hiding behind the skirts of the school committee, how very democratic.
It would be a fitting retribution to lock him, and the committee, in a room and play hours of Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones.
Full marks go to Tyler Frost for having an independent mind. Whereas he will have the support and best wishes of fair-minded people the world over, England and his pious cronies will only have their contempt.