Holy Moly

Parents Are Speaking Out After A Christian School Baptized Over 100 Students Without Permission

The school is now apologizing.

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When parents send their kids to school, it’s to be expected that they’ll learn some new things, make some friends, and gain life experience. However, at one private Christian school, parents sent their kids to school for what they thought to be just another day and got a little more than they bargained for.

According to the Fayetteville Observer, a North Carolina private Christian school baptized more than 100 students without asking for parental permission. When some parents learned that their children had been baptized, they were upset and disappointed in the school’s lack of foresight.

Before parents had a chance to speak their piece, the school took to their official Facebook page to boast about the news. Northwood Temple Academy, a private Christian school in Fayetteville, posted on Facebook, “I feel it in my bones, You’re about to move! Today we had over 100 middle and high school students spontaneously declare their faith and get baptized today. We will have more pictures of these powerful moments posted over the next couple of days!”

The school holding the actual baptism moment was not out of the blue. A few students had previously signed up for scheduled baptisms that day as part of Spiritual Emphasis Week. However, once the school opened up the option of baptism to the entire student body, over 100 students came forward in a spur of the moment decision.

Once parents got wind that some of their kids had been baptized without parental consent, the school tried to explain the oversight. Typically, the school says it notifies and sends out invites to parents for any baptisms that happen at school.

“It was not the intention of any faculty member to do anything behind a parent’s back or in any kind of secret way,” Renee McLamb, the head of the school, wrote in a letter to parents after the impromptu event.

One mom found out about the baptism when her daughter called her at work because she was soaked. “My daughter calls me from the school and says, ‘Mama, can you bring me some dry clothes? I got baptized today,’” one parent told the Observer. “I said, ‘WHAT?’”

While most parents made peace with the fact that their children were baptized, it was more upsetting that they were not there to witness the moment. The act of baptism is a sacred act in the Christian faith, symbolizing ones’ commitment to the church.

"This is what I think they should have done," the parent of the 11-year-old told the Observer. “They should have corralled the kids in the back of the church, another room — somewhere — and said, ‘We understand your desire to get this done. We'd love for your families to be here and present with you.’”

McLamb also recognized that missing out on a special spontaneous moment like that would hurt her, as a mother. “We were not expecting such an overwhelming response to the message that was spoken, but as a mother I certainly can empathize with why some parents were upset,” she said.

She also noted that while, yes, parents did miss out on the moment, they should be thankful that their kids chose to partake in the act. “I do understand that parents would desire to be a part of something so wonderful happening in the lives of their children, and so I apologize that we did not take that into consideration in that moment,” she continued. “I pray that at the end of the day we will all rejoice because God truly did a work in the lives of our students.”

In most churches that practice baptism, such as the Catholic Church, the ritual is not allowed without parental consent unless circumstances are dire. And in some churches, a second baptism is seen as egregious.