The following is my response to the "Southern Slavery, As It Was" argument and commotion which has recently come to the public spotlight.
I am a student at Cary Christian School, and I can clarify this issue, as far as the blogs are concerned. The original article that sparked this controversy is in the Raleigh News and Observer, and has rapidly spread to other news sources, and obviously the blogs. The issue regards a pamphlet, titled "Southern Slavery, as it was". This pamphlet, as the articles say, tries to give a southern view, and a biblical defense of slavery. The 9th grade class at our school had to read this article when studying the civil war. In addition to this they are also required to read a book titled "Uncle Tom's Cabin", as well as many of Lincoln's speeches. Uncle Tom's Cabin and Lincoln's speeches are both very much against slavery, and provide a stark contrast to the ideas of “Southern Slavery”.
Cary Christian School, as our principal, Larry Stephenson, has been quoted, always strives to bring both sides of an issue to everything that they teach. In Rhetoric, we study the ideas of Aristotle, and the contradictory ideas of Plato. In our bible classes, we study the ideas of Wycliffe, Martin Luther, Huss, and others, while only affirming those doctrines that we believe are primary, leaving the rest for the students to discuss with their pastors and parents. The school encourages reading of many different sources, no matter the beliefs of the writers, but with the lower grades, always tries to be careful to remind them the origins and beliefs of the writers. The book was pulled because of what they called, "Clerical issues with citations and footnotes". The truth is, it had some parts that seem to be plagiarized from a similar book titled, "Time on the Cross". This book provides an economic examination of slavery, and seems to be a more scholarly work, though it also does make some assumptions. Our school was unaware of the issues with the pamphlet at the time of the first newspaper article. The school, as I will reiterate, always tries to bring both sides of an issue to the students, and I believe they will continue to do so in this context, even without this book. There may be a new version of Southern Slavery released in the future, which fixes the clerical issues, and there is always the chance that the school may use this. They may even decide to replace it with “Time on the Cross”, but I have no doubt that they will have something to replace this text.
Some people say that this is dangerous. The critics of the school say that we should not teach young children things that may sway their beliefs. My brother is in the ninth grade, and he hates slavery now just as much as he did before reading these books. There is no doubt in my mind that our school and students are against slavery.
Cary Christian School holds a very high standard of learning, and our ninth grade students are very intelligent. The philosophy of teaching at our school dictates that they are taught how to learn very early, and are always challenged with contradictory writings and ideas. We hold many debates in school, and the upper grades are even debating this very issue. I do not want to slam public schools, but many of them are not allowed the privilege of holding this type of debates. We value our right to debate very dearly.
In conclusion, I would like to say that regardless of what the articles may say, our school is against slavery. The primary goal of our teachers is always to prepare us for the rest of our lives. Teachers can give us controversial topics, and debated books, but because we are taught how to analyze everything we read critically, we are not indoctrinated, we are not influenced, but we are only further taught how to think for ourselves. This is not a skill that appears through age, it must be taught. This skill will not appear after learning facts, for how are we thinking for ourselves when all we do is repeat information. This skill is only learned through debates, and critical analysis, and no matter what the critics say, this is the best way to prepare a child for the real world.