February 29, 2012 | By: Joaquin Fernandez
On Saturday, February 25, IndoctriNation: Public School and the Decline of Christianity in America won the Jubilee Award at the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival (www.saicff.org) for Best Documentary among 25 semi-finalists. IndoctriNation was also the runner-up for the $101,000 Best of Festival Grand Prize, which went to Courageous, currently the best-selling DVD in America. IndoctriNation directors Colin Gunn and Joaquin Fernandez and co-producer Scott Eash were present to receive one of the highest honors in the Christian filmmaking community in front of 2,100 attendees from 40 states and multiple foreign countries, awarded to them the night before the Oscars ceremony in Hollywood.
IndoctriNation features the emotional testimony of Brian Rohrbough who lost his son Dan during the Columbine High School massacre in 1999. “It may have taken a school shooting to wake us up, to see the danger,” Rohrbough says in the film, “but that’s a very small danger compared to all the other things that go on that can destroy our children.”
With saddening poignancy, less than 36 hours after the closing ceremony of the SAICFF, another tragic school shooting occurred. Russell King Jr., 17, and Demetrius Hewlin, 16, died Tuesday, February 28 after having been injured in a shooting rampage in the Chardon High School cafeteria during breakfast on Monday, February 27. Their two deaths yesterday bring the body count to three following the death of fellow student Daniel Parmertor, 16, in this Cleveland suburb – all of whom were among five students randomly shot by Thomas “TJ” Lane, the .22-caliber pistol-wielding sophomore.
“Chardon and Columbine are not isolated incidents,” said Gunn. “During the research for our documentary, we discovered, to our horror, that 400 people have been victims of government school related violence since Columbine. But what a lot of Christian parents fail to realize is that their children are not only in danger physically, but they are in danger academically, morally and spiritually as well.”
Despite the plethora of Christian private schools and the increasingly popular option to homeschool, IndoctriNation documents that the vast majority of Christian children still attend a public school. Gunn says “The tragedy is that Christian parents still deceive themselves to think that these things can’t happen to their child, yet every week we hear of another violent act or sexual assault in the public schools.”
Gunn, a Scottish filmmaker and home school father of eight who lives in Waco, Texas, drove an old yellow school bus with his family across America, asking questions about the origins and social impact of America’s public education system. Some of the questions he asked were “Who established the American public school system? Are kids physically and morally safe in the schools? Should Christians try to be “salt and light” there? And, can the public school system be redeemed?”
IndoctriNation features interviews with teachers including the legendary New York City and State Teacher of the Year John Taylor Gatto as well as public school administrators, students and parents. In addition, Colin provides critical biblical perspective through conversations with some of the finest Christian thinkers today including educator Samuel Blumenfeld, Col. John Eidsmoe, creationist Ken Ham, Pastor Erwin Lutzer, visionary Doug Phillips, author Bruce Shortt, theologian R.C. Sproul, Jr., and radio talk show host Kevin Swanson.