I have been fortunate enough to have been raised and educated among pro-lifers. Whether these pro-lifers were teachers, students, chaplains, and of course my family, I was always surrounded by people who were dedicated to the cause of protecting human life.

Well the times have changed and so has the school system. I now attend a public school where students of all religions, cultures and opinions can be found in one class. This is a new experience for me.

I have been in all three systems of education: separate, private and now public. One can say that I know the differences of education among the systems. Now I’m not interested in discussing education in the sciences or the arts, rather something much more important: the education of the soul, by which I mean a moral and ethical education.

Someone once told me: “Tanya, it must be really difficult to be pro-life in a public school.” I pondered that remark for a while. I finally concluded that yes it may be more difficult to be visibly pro-life, but by being in a public school I am now called to examine more deeply what exactly it means to be a pro-life youth. This is something I never really had to do before.

Passive about the issue

In the Catholic and private schools I attended, where generally everyone was pro-life, I didn’t really think about it. Like most teenagers, I could simply be passive about the issue and follow the crowd and as a result be pro-life. Well not anymore!

Being pro-life definitely does not mean following the crowd. It should, but in today’s society, it doesn’t. Being pro-life in fact requires one to go against the crowd, against the media, against the “norm.”

I found this out the hard way.

In my somewhat naive approach, I thought that there is no way a majority of youth could support abortion. This horrible, deliberate act of violence against humanity and against all human life could not be supported by life-loving teens, could it? To give you an answer to a somewhat bewildering question, I’ll offer you this: I was required to talk about myself for a few minutes in front of my class. Although I was the “new girl” in school, I did not think this was much of a chore. I  talked about my family, my hobbies, sports, and as I was answering classmates’ questions, someone asked me if I had a job and where I worked. I immediately responded “Campaign Life Coalition,” and explained that it was a pro-life organization.

The phrase “pro-life” unleashed many responses ranging from gasps and surprised looks of disbelief to smiles and of course, the usual glances of indifference. That one phrase — “pro-life” — which I always associate myself as being, that one phrase which I always believe in, that one little phrase that could cause such a reaction, was beginning to reveal itself to me.

What does this incident reveal to us about our public school system? Today’s teenagers are not granted a moral education, and by this I mean an education of discerning what is right from wrong at least in terms of right-to-life issues. How can our education system fail to give us students what we so desperately need? If students are not rooted deeply in morals then how are they expected to adopt a moral view once they enter post-secondary education or the workforce.

The fact that these questions have to be asked is scary enough indeed. Students should be given the opportunity to grow and mature in a school system that can provide them with a solid moral education. This is what is needed in the school system today. A high school diploma may broaden a student’s post-secondary horizons, but a moral education can broaden a student’s life.

Moral and ethical education directly tie in with the abortion issue. Abortion is definitely a moral issue, especially as so many see it as the taking of a human life. Students should have the opportunity to be educated and deeply rooted in morals for the students of today will be the parents of tomorrow. If we students do not learn right from wrong now, how will we ever be able to educate our children in future years? What humble example will we be able to give to society?

Growth of the soul

I believe that the growth of a student’s soul is linked to the education he or she receives in school, in home and in prayer. I am not bashing the public school system for failing its students, for then I would have to point out the flaws in the separate and the private schools also. I am simply making a call for all students, parents and education employees to examine the status quo and decide what is most important in a student’s education.

So, maybe I have caught the attention of a few classmates. Maybe I have made a few enemies without realizing it. Maybe that wasn’t the “ideal” way to start my final year at a new school. Well, that’s what being pro-life is all about. Going against the current of society, witnessing about being pro-life, taking a stance against what is wrong, and maybe making a few enemies along the way.

(Tanya Granic is an OAC student in Toronto).