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Presented at the A Contemplation of Glory Conference 2021.
Thirty years ago, classical schools proudly operated in loco parentis (“in the place of parents”), which meant teachers taught a very basic statement of faith in the classroom and deferred all other significant theological and philosophical matters up to parents. This model worked when classical education was a small, scrappy movement for like-minded people who loathed the spirit of the age and came from largely similar church backgrounds. Today, due to the rapid expansion of classical Christian schools, relatively few parents at classical schools are all that opposed to the spirit of the age. Many classical schools are now replete with elementary school students who have Tik-Tok accounts and high school students itching for lucrative transcripts, sports scholarships, and entrance into the sort of secular universities where tender Christian faith quickly dies. Can a classical school remain classical and operate in loco parentis? If not, what should take the place of in loco parentis as an operating strategy? Joshua Gibbs has a few ideas.