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Back to October Ed Reporter
Education Reporter
NUMBER 201 THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS OCTOBER 2002

'Golden Rule School' Provides Sensible Solution to 'Hate'
SANTA ROSA, CA - Parents concerned about the proliferation of "Hate-Free Schools" programs and "sensitivity" training are trumpeting Orlean Koehle's solution, a new curriculum aptly titled the "Golden Rule School." A parent herself and the president of Eagle Forum of California, Mrs. Koehle was inspired to create the program as she sat with other parents recently at a "Hate-Free Schools" meeting at Santa Rosa's Maria Carrillo High School. Administrators claimed the program was necessary following what they called two incidents of "hate" at the school. They explained that if 60% of the students and 60% of the faculty undergo this diversity training, the school would receive a banner pronouncing it "Hate-Free."

Many parents have learned that programs urging "tolerance" and "diversity" are really pushing acceptance of the pro-gay lifestyle. These parents are seeking other means of encouraging kindness and respect among students.

"As I listened to the Hate-Free Schools presentation," states Mrs. Koehle, "it occurred to me that we could save a lot of time and money if we would just return to the Golden Rule, the concept that influenced our schools and our society for over 200 years: 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.'" She drafted a handbook composed of 16 principles and procedures (some based on procedures already in use in some schools) to teach children to respect one another, their teachers and principals, and their school rules.

A school's first step in implementing the program is to post the Golden Rule in every classroom. "The teacher explains to students that this is the main rule of the class," Mrs. Koehle describes. "Teachers can then take students' suggestions for additional rules, such as no gum chewing, note passing, swearing, putting classmates down, or talking before being called on to speak."

A positive character trait is selected to be taught each week or month. Exercises include choosing a famous quotation that exemplifies each trait and assigning written work and holding class discussions about the quote. These exercises can be incorporated into English, Literature, History, Science, and even music classes. In art classes, students can make posters demonstrating the trait of the month to hang on school walls.

Other aspects of the program include setting up a student government and rotating officers so that all students showing personal responsibility get an opportunity to serve. Appropriate dress codes for students and teachers are adopted, and desks and classrooms are to be kept neat. Students and teachers are to show respect for the U.S. flag and for our form of government.

Golden Rule School teachers will respect the personal and religious beliefs of students and their parents. They will honor opt-out forms and equal access codes, which means that if a school allows pro-gay presentations, it must also allow presentations by ex-gays. Health teachers will stress the teaching of abstinence and show respect for monogamous, heterosexual marriage as cited in California Education Codes 51220.5 and 51553.

Minor discipline problems will be handled primarily in the classroom, allowing students to experience and learn about our judicial system by holding in-class trials for offending students by a jury of their peers. Any punishment will ultimately be decided by the teacher or school administrators.

Mrs. Koehle points out that the advantages of the Golden Rule School include: 
  • No extra in-service training for overworked teachers. 
  • No "diversity" training which may violate the personal or religious beliefs of students and their parents. 
  • No negative labels such as "Hate-Free," which suggest that schools or students not so labeled are hateful. 
  • Positive student response: One student wrote that, with the use of famous quotations in class, "we are being taught great moral truths that we would not hear otherwise." 
  • The Golden Rule helps students think before they say or do something negative to their peers. 
  • Students enjoy the in-class court sessions, even when they are on trial themselves.
  • Mrs. Koehle is already receiving positive feedback about the program. Former superintendent of schools for 17 years in Forestville, California, Dr. Ray Parnay, stated: "The character education that is being taught in the Gold Rule School program is badly needed in our public schools today. Much of what is being proposed is what I used in my own classroom when I was a teacher. I have seen first hand the remarkable success of such a program."

    Trustee of the Sierra Unified Schools (K-12) and former kindergarten teacher for 20 years, Sharon Kientz, observed: "The Golden Rule School is something the schools have long needed. It is a very clear plan to be implemented by teachers and administrators to teach students civility and character guidance. I am recommending it for the teachers in my district."

    Sharon Hughes of Santa Rosa, a businesswoman and concerned mother and grandmother, remarked to Mrs. Koehle: "Finally, a positive alternative to the liberal agenda in our public schools! The Golden Rule School is based on respect, kindness, and the time-honored basic truth of 'Do Unto Others as You Would Have Them Do Unto You' which, when instilled in youth, will spill over into their entire lives."

    Orlean Koehle may be contacted at: okoehle@sonic.net  


     
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