Another scary vlog to show you today.
My slight concern with this vlog is that people will think I’m bitter. I don’t feel bitter, and I resent “you’re just bitter” being used as an excuse to dismiss what I have to say. My hope is that by being this personal, people will see the effect that Creationism has on children. At that age, people are vulnerable to deception. What I want to make very clear is that this is not just about me. This is about all the children who are taught this – about 2,000 in ACE schools in the UK.
When Christians say “train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it,” they are taking advantage of a child’s credulity. It feels hysterical to call it child abuse, but it is an abuse of power.
The other thing I’d like you to notice is that I always said “man,” instead of “people,” or “humans.” Fundamentalist Christianity hates feminism.
I can write this blog because I escaped. I’m free and clear, and my life is good now. I’m genuinely concerned about the kids that are still in systems like ACE School of Tomorrow.
I’ve spent a lot of time digging up ACE survivor stories on the net. These three, in my mind, best capture the experience of attending one of these schools.
I’ve only managed to contact the author of one of these posts. The other two are reposted with attribution to the original source. You can decide for yourself how credible they are. I’m willing to stick my neck on the line and say that these stories are representative of what I’ve seen in ACE schools. Regardless of who wrote them, I think they are good illustrations of Accelerated Christian Education.
If you wrote either of the other posts and would like to add a comment, or update your story, or would like me to remove the post, please get in touch. If any other readers have direct experience of ACE, I’d also love to hear from you.
1. Originally posted here. I’ve been in contact with the author.
Ah, Accelerated Christian Education. They now call themselves by the fifties-ish appellation “School of Tomorrow,” apparently without even a sliver of irony. Faugh.
This is a hideously condescending system of private-school education that consisted, in my day at least, of having students work “at their own pace,” but really struggling almost unaided through 60 workbooks a year, in little partitioned desks whose primary resemblance is to office cubicles. These workbooks, called PACEs (standing for “Packet of Accelerated Christian Education”) are liberally sprinkled with the most inane, poorly-drawn cartoons you will ever see, most of which featuring simplistic morals and cookie-cutter characters in self-righteous situations. Therein we are introduced to Ace (“Ace-ee”) and his friends Christi, Reginald and, representing all the ugly people of this great world, Happy, with his buck teeth and cross-eyed expression, who, if memory serves, is assured has a place on this Earth in blue-collar employment. All the characters, both the “good” (e.g. Christians) and “evil” (e.g. not-yet-Christians) have descriptive last names, as in that overrated religious path-straightener Pilgrim’s Progress, all of which I have graciously forgotten. Read the rest of this entry
One thing has become obvious since I started this blog: I got off lightly.
I began writing because I thought I had an important story to tell – and I do – but what happened to me is nothing compared to the abuse some of my commenters have encountered. Timothy Allman bravely shared this:
“My parents had their own ACE school that ended up being a home school just for us. There was no way out. My mother had me convinced that all public school children were evil drug addicts. It was more like a Polish orphanage than a nurturing home. Here is the kicker. After my fathers death, one of my sisters let me know that my father had molested her. From there it did not take much to figure out that all three of them had been molested. And it is clear from my mothers many actions like keeping us isolated and not wanting us (especially the girls) to see a doctor that she was compliant in this. Large numbers of people who say things like, we must abstain from all appearance of evil, might be protesting too much. These schools can safely harbor men and women who abuse children in ways that are just as bad as any catholic priest scandal in the news.”
The stories I have to tell from my youth are generally fairly amusing (to me at least), but most thoughts of my blog being entertaining are flying out the window. I’m going to have to find some Creationist hilarity for you next time to lighten the tone.
As I said in my last post on physical abuse, it wasn’t just spanking. Here’s an example I got emailed by an old schoolfriend, describing her brother’s experience:
Today I am guest blogger at Bruce Gerencser’s The Way Forward blog. I’m writing about a subject that’s more important than Creationism or even a government agency validating a fundamentalist curriculum. It’s the fundamentalist doctrine of total depravity, and how it is used to justify horrific physical abuse. This will be the first of many posts on this subject.
Here’s an excerpt of the kind of joy you will learn about:
This view of the child as needing to be broken, like a horse, led to hideous abuses at my school. It was not only spanking. In drama classes, if a movement was painful, the teacher made students repeat it endlessly. A classmate recently emailed me to describe a time her sibling was made to snap his fingers until they were covered in blisters. In a choral verse class, children had to hold contorted positions on stage for 10 minutes or more at a time, and the teachers screamed at them if they were seen to move at all.
The same student also described the experience of being paddled at an ACE school:
“I was at [the ACE school] aged 3 – 7, and i cant remember what happened exactly when, but i got paddled a lot and remember having big red marks on my thighs from it and it hurt and was really terrifying! And straight after being paddled [the teacher] asked ‘do u believe that i love u?’ and i said ‘no’, cz obviously i knew that she hated me, and she said ‘YES I DO LOVE YOU!’ and it was just weird and confusing for a small child! and the things i remember getting paddled for were dragging my gym bag along the floor cz it was too heavy, and for drawing a cat on my pace, and for saying i havent had a biscuit when actually i had had a biscuit, which was a malicious lie!
“And [the teacher] would make you say a prayer after being paddled to apologize and I said ‘I wont do it again’ in my prayer and she interupted and said ‘YES YOU WILL DO IT AGAIN’! again, weird and confusing for a child!!”