|| PATRICK HENRY COLLEGE
Homeschool graduate stops video outlet
by Michael Farris, PHC President
Patrick Henry College's unique mission is to train young Christian men and women to lead our nation and shape our culture with timeless biblical values and fidelity to the American spirit. After serving as Patrick Henry's president for the past three years, I can tell you that our students believe in this mission and they aren't waiting until they graduate to begin making a difference. They are demonstrating leadership right now!
One such student is Naomi Harralson, who was homeschooled from 3rd grade through high school. This junior Government major's recent apprenticeship project produced much more than a passing grade.
Naomi's story began during the 2002 spring semester in her Principles of Leadership class, which I taught along with Paul Protic, our Director of Apprenticeship. I challenged Naomi and her classmates to be problem solvers and to take initiative. And I mentioned that it was suspected a local video store maintained a backroom for distributing pornographic material. Naomi and a few of her classmates decided to use my example for their class project.
They found the project difficult. Taking on the porn industry, even at the local level, seemed to be an almost impossible task. But by the fall semester, Naomi had verified that the store did indeed sell pornography and decided to make this class project her Directed Research and Writing (DRW) apprenticeship assignment. DRW integrates elements of practical professional experience with a traditional classroom setting in order to prepare Patrick Henry graduates for the contemporary workplace.
Naomi researched national, state, and local obscenity laws, court obscenity precedent, and the video company involved. To her surprise, she found numerous obscenity laws already on the books here in Purcellville where the store operates.
She contacted the town manager and chief of police, who were eager to help but thought that nothing could be done about the pornography in the store's backroom. Naomi didn't give up. She explained that the law prohibits the distribution of any form of obscenity, regardless of its specific location or who is permitted to view it. As a result, the town leaders sent a copy of the town ordinance to the video store and to the company's regional representatives.
Although the video store was not dissuaded by her findings, Naomi persisted. She turned to the Office of the Commonwealth's Attorney of Virginia, which agreed to prosecute under state public nuisance law if she could provide letters of complaint. Naomi and her colleagues put their grassroots skills to work. The complaints were filed, and the Commonwealth's Attorney kept his promise. The video store closed the backroom rather than face possible legal action.
The effects of Naomi's research project stretch far beyond a well-written college paper. She has won a small but significant victory against a billion dollar industry, a victory we hope will encourage others to take similar action elsewhere.
Naomi Harralson is proof that the vision of many homeschoolers (which is also the mission of Patrick Henry College)-to train those who will lead the nation and shape the culture-is working. Please pray that all of our students will have such an impact. For more information about PHC, call 540-338-1776 or visit www.phc.edu.