A field trip worth forgetting

ALEXANDRIA, La. (BP)--School field trips -- do you remember them? I attended grade school in the late '60s and early '70s and can remember going on educational outings. We crowded onto yellow school buses and toted sack lunches. Our teachers admonished us to "stay together" and "pay attention." And, of course, there was always the obligatory essay about what we had learned on our trip.

I can still vividly recall some of my field trips. We traveled to Austin to tour the Texas capital and trekked to San Antonio to visit the Alamo and other sites related to Texas history. There were at least a couple of visits to museums. I also remember a trip to view dinosaur tracks in a dry river bed. Our music teacher even arranged for us to attend the U.S. Marine Band in concert.

Our trips related directly to a subject we were studying. In other words, each trip had a real educational purpose.

The times have certainly changed.

On Oct. 10, a group of first-grade students from the Creative Arts Charter School in San Francisco took what the San Francisco Chronicle termed "an unusual field trip." Eighteen children traveled to city hall to celebrate the nuptials of their lesbian teacher to her partner. The children tossed rose petals and blew bubbles following the "gay marriage" ceremony officiated by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.

Liz Jaroslow, the school's interim director, justified the academic value of the trip by saying, "It is what we call a teachable moment," the Chronicle reported. She went on to cite the historical significance of "gay marriage" as it relates to civil rights. "I think I am well within my parameters," she said.

If they are teaching about "gay rights" in the first grade, then things have changed dramatically since I attended.

When I was in first grade, all of our attention was given to the four "R's": Readin', (w)ritin', (a)rithmetic and, my favorite, recess. We were taught to get along with one another and to treat each other with dignity and respect. We even received a grade for our conduct, which reflected how well we were integrating what we were being taught. But I don't really recall "gay rights" studies in the first grade.

Should a first-grade teacher spend time instructing kids about marriage -- heterosexual or homosexual? Isn't that really something that should take place in the home? What would be the point of having a unit of study on marriage for first-graders? Why would you introduce the subject of "gay marriage" to six- and seven year-old kids? There is only one reason that I can think of, and that is to try influence them to accept homosexuality as natural, normal and healthy.

Trying to justify the field trip on historical grounds is laughable. There is no doubt that that the "gay marriage" debate is historical, but just because an event or movement is in the process of making history does not, in and of itself, justify a field trip to observe it -- especially for first-graders.

If the Pope were to pay a visit to San Francisco it would be viewed as an historic event. However, I can assure you that no first-graders would be taking a field trip to see the Pontiff. If they did, the American Civil Liberties Union would be fit to be tied.

A field trip by students to watch the "gay marriage" issue debated in court could be justified. There, at least, they would hear both sides of the discussion. However, a field trip by students, of any age, to celebrate a "gay wedding" is nothing more than propaganda on parade.

Creative Arts administrators as well as some parents acknowledged the field trip might be considered controversial, but really did not see the issue as a big deal. However, one parent told the Chronicle, "How many days in school are they going to remember? This is a day they'll definitely remember."

No big deal? Do you think the administrators and parents really believe their own rhetoric? If the "gay wedding" the kids went to celebrate is really no big deal, then why even go? If it is no big deal, what is the point in taking the kids out of class and bussing them to city hall?

A field trip, by its very nature, is a big deal to a kid. The aforementioned parent is correct -- the children will remember the day they went to celebrate a "gay marriage." And sadly, it will be for all the wrong reasons.


Kelly Boggs is a weekly columnist for Baptist Press and editor of the Baptist Message (www.baptistmessage.com), newsjournal of the Louisiana Baptist Convention. To learn how you can help conservatives in California pass Prop 8 -- which would overturn the state high court's "gay marriage" ruling -- visit ProtectMarriage.com.

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