John Alwood is the principal of Lake Braddock High School in Fairfax County, Virginia—the largest high school in the state, with over 4,300 students and 235 staff members. Among his professional accomplishments is the initiation of a highly touted academic program at Lake Braddock featuring the use of team teaching, interdisciplinary classes, and a strong emphasis on the importance of personal relationships between students and teachers.

Alwood is the father of four children in public schools, and an elder at McLean Presbyterian Church, McLean, Virginia. In the following interview he offers a practical perspective on some of the many controversial issues facing Christians in public schools.

Tim LaHaye has said that “since humanists in public education expelled the Bible from our schools, morals have gone straight down hill.” Do you agree?

There is no doubt that the standards governing students’ lives have grown much more permissive. But I wouldn’t blame this on the Bible’s absence from our schools. A moral change has taken place in our society, and our schools are just a piece of that pie.

In reality, public schools don’t set much of a pace in any area—they tend to fall behind even educationally. So while culturally we have much looser morals, I don’t think the expectation level of teachers, or what kind of behavior they find acceptable, has changed significantly in the 25 years I’ve been in education. People who choose education careers tend to come from families of educators, and there is a continuity of moral feeling. While some people want to make the school a fall guy for students’ behavior, it is closer to the truth to see the schools suffering from, and attempting to combat, a moral deterioration in society.

Do you think ...

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