"Unlike some schools, we don't believe the Bible originates from man, but God; it is an actual letter from God."

Ed Hughlett
Lanakila Baptist High School principal

Gaylen Kama, Aric Estrella and Alika Borabora study their Bibles for class before basketball practice. Unlike at public schools, every student and teacher carries a Bible, used as a textbook, at Lanakila Baptist High School.

Textbook for life

The Bible is an integral part of
Lanakila Baptist High’s curriculum

At Lanakila Baptist High School, students carry their required Bible to every class. The Bible is part of the education curriculum, which includes building beliefs, character and values.

About 10 minutes away at James Campbell High School, nearly 2,000 students walk the halls, and like all public schools, Bibles are not required and hardly seen on campus.

Lanakila Baptist High School

Each week, Hawaii's teenage reporters and photographers tell us about their high school.

Faculty advisers
Alisa Estrella Bender and Tracy Kearns
Krystal Choate
91-1219 Renton Road, Ewa Beach 96706
Ed Hughlett
Blue, white and red

"We need to respect the separation of church and state," said John Fleckles, academic vice president at Hawaii Pacific University, in regards to Bibles not being used as textbooks in public schools.

Fleckles said people fled their countries to come to America because their country was forcing a certain religion on them: "America was a haven to coexist."

In the 1960s, many believe that the Bible and religion were completely removed from the public school system. That is untrue; state-sponsored religious practices and the devotional use of the Bible by public school officials were barred. This means students in public schools can learn about not only Christian religions, but different types of religions and interpretations of the Bible.

For public schools, teachers should remain neutral, not encouraging or discouraging any student from a particular religion. They teach from the standpoint of the Bible -- not as historical truth, but showing how religion has affected our nation and the world.

Fleckles said that teaching our nation's history through Christianity needs to be done to show America's development.

A private school view

At private schools like Lanakila, the prohibition holds little sway. Christian educators consider it honorable and a privilege to use the Bible as a textbook.

"Unlike some schools, we don't believe the Bible originates from man, but God; it is an actual letter from God," said Ed Hughlett, principal of Lanakila Baptist High School.

At Lanakila, educators see the Bible as truth. The tiny, 140-student school uses the original King James Bible version to promote a Christian education.

Each Lanakila course utilizes the Bible.

"We teach through a Christian view, not secular. Everything originates from God, such as history, science and math," Hughlett said.

Lanakila's entire educational curriculum springs from the knowledge found in the Bible. The school teaches that God is the creator of everything, all knowledge and wisdom.

A public school view

Public schools have a different method of teaching. The Bible might be used to teach a lesson in history, but classes do not offer proof that the Bible is true.

Campbell High School offers a literature course based on the Bible. The teacher uses the Bible as an example to help grasp language, major narratives and characters in literature; but they cannot use the Bible as factual. Other courses, like those in history, law or art, might also use the Bible in this manner of objectivity, and only in this manner.

The Bible should be removed from the public school system if schools do not acknowledge all religions, Campbell Vice Principal Saundra Kurata said. Kurata's view and the course correspond with the Equal Access Act issued by the U.S. Department of Education and passed by Congress in 1984.

"I'm all for teaching history through religion," said Fleckles, who added that doing so requires a great deal of sophistication and preparation, which public high schools might not be ready to do.

However, Fleckles thinks freedom of religion can be the springboard for moving schools to using the Bible. "People have the right to beliefs," he said.


Advocates for religion in schools believe a common ground can be found. The Bible Literacy Project, the First Amendment Center and the Freedom Forum, all nonprofit organizations, promote the idea of reconciling the deep differences regarding the Bible in public and private schools. By allowing instruction in an academic and objective manner by a qualified teacher, the Bible can thrive as a textbook in any educational institution.

Kurata feels that if the Bible was taught as a belief, students could gain morals and values.

"It depends how it (the Bible) was used," Kurata said. "When religion is forced, there are never good results; if welcomed, it may benefit students."


Bracelet trend aims to
beautify student soul

They're all around Lanakila Baptist High School. Colorful tiny bead bracelets on backpacks, necks, wrists and ankles are more than just a craze. They pack a lot of meaning.

Witnessing with Jewelry

Meanings of the colors in the Bible Bead Bracelet:

» Dark bead: sin
» Red bead: Christ's blood
» Clear bead: forgiveness of sin
» Green bead: growth in Christ
» Yellow bead: heaven

"It is a good evangelistic tool, and whenever I wear it people always ask what it's about, which gives me a chance to share God with them," junior Dominic Tapec said.

Starting with one ministry class of 28 students, the fashion spread to the entire student body.

"The bracelets look good," said Mike Schwab, a coach and teacher, about the black leather string with five colored beads.

The materials are all cheap, and the bracelet is simple to make. The strap can be made from anything, not just leather. The bracelet can also be made into a necklace if desired. But most of the students wear it as a bracelet.

Teacher Chuck Wong first introduced the bracelets to the student body in September, hoping it would bring "revival."

"These beads allow for all Christians to have a secondary means of witnessing," said the teacher of history and the Bible.

The beads themselves have important meanings, with a short Bible passage associated with each bead. This bracelet is meant to be a subtle and effective way of initiating talk about God.

Some students say when they wear the bracelet, they feel like they are a testimony of Christ and are compelled to do the right things. They feel the weight of the bracelet reminds them of God's presence.

Wong hopes the bracelets will go beyond Lanakila Baptist.

"The message of the bracelet is so simplistic that anyone from the age of 5 to 55 can understand it," he said.


You Asked...

"What would you change about
the Ewa Beach and Waipahu area?"

Nicole Martin
"I would make every house have a backyard."

Cheantel Myatt
"I think they should leave it the way it is."

Darrelyn Silva
"I would try to get drugs and drug houses out of our side of the island and make it a safer place for everyone."

Danna Parros
Seventh grade
"Make Ewa Beach and Waipahu more modernized, like more Internet wires for homes."

Bea Claire Aglibot
Eighth grade
"I would change the roads and make them bigger so there would not be as much traffic."

Tristan Martinez
"I want a direct route to downtown Honolulu."

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