Going Public

9 ways to help your child survive—and thrive—in the public-school setting.

The telephone rang. It was my son's school librarian.

"Mrs. Houston, I hear you had a problem with one of our library books," she stated.

I gripped the phone, shot up a prayer for wisdom, then replied evenly, "I'm concerned with the content of one of the books—the one about werewolves."

"Have you read the book?" she queried.

Some of my sweetest prayer times were over my children's education.

"Yes, I have. Have you?" I asked carefully. "It describes the crunching sound of a baby's skull while the wolf eats him, and gives detailed instructions on how to sell your soul to the devil."

"Well, I haven't read that particular book," she replied. "But the ones I've read in the same series are harmless fun and encourage older children to read books."

"I want to encourage children to read as well," I assured her. "But I believe this book's inappropriate. Actually, when I heard your voice, I thought the principal had talked to you because I met with her this morning."

"What did the principal say?" she asked with interest.

"I explained my concerns, and she told me she'll read the book and get back to me."

The above encounter took place during our family's 19-year journey in the public-school system in Eugene, Oregon. When we moved to Eugene in 1983, we enrolled the eldest of our three children in the first grade there. Many school districts nationwide provide an excellent, balanced education, but the city of Eugene—and its public-school system—are heavily influenced by its liberal university culture and prominent homosexual community. But as new Christians, we were eager to live as "light to the world."

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May 25

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