Sad observations from 7th grade history trip to the Capitol


Acknowledging all the variables and excuses (including the arrogant “we’re not smart enough to understand the process”) I wanted to tell you the experience our Trinity Christian 7th graders had in the gallery of the Texas House on Wednesday.

After a tour of the impressive building that makes one proud to be a Texan, we went to the gallery for the start of the morning session. I’m sure it was business as usual on the floor and for the impression it made on our students, that’s the problem. The bell rang to signal the start of business. Then someone ran around and hit all the buttons, showing them “present” on the board yet barely a small handful were in the room and they weren’t paying a lick of attention. 7th graders understand that saying you are someplace when you’re not is a lie.

When we pray, we just pray. We didn’t realize they give a complete and very lengthy resume of the person giving the invocation. It seemed a bit self-serving. That is before we figured out that “self-serving” appears to be the theme in that building.

Several people from Fredericksburg were honored, including a sweet 99-year old woman. We couldn’t help but feel they had wasted the drive over. Our students watched wide-eyed as everyone on the floor continued to talk loudly among themselves, most with their back turned to the “honored” guests. We don’t know why they bothered to later clap for them considering none of them paid any attention or respect.

Imagine the contrast. The previous days we had toured the San Jose Mission and the Alamo. Our trip took place during the days honoring Texas Independence and the incredible sacrifice and convictions of men like Austin, Crockett, and Houston. Now here in the legislative chamber all we saw were a bunch of self-important, self-aggrandizing individuals who couldn’t be bothered to be quiet for 2 minutes to show respect to a wise woman who has likely forgotten more than these egomaniacs will ever know.

Suffice it to say it was a teachable moment when we got back on the bus. We talked about the importance of remembering not to judge an entire experience by one 20-minute observation. We also talked about the blatant disregard and disrespect we witnessed. That what they saw was rude.

We explained the importance of remembering the ever present danger that as you work your way in the system, the system works its way in you. And we acknowledged the reality that the capitol building is loaded with self-important people. Some of whom are there to do good work and many more to serve themselves.

Most of all, we talked about the importance of godly character and integrity. And the importance of remembering the basics of honor and respect.

When we entered the gallery, the pages cautioned all of us to be quiet and respectful. It was a big disconnect to see neither of those courtesies were practiced by those they came to observe.

Sadly, the worst experience of our Texas history trip was watching those elected to conduct the business of the people. I’d like to think we just caught them on a bad day. Yet this ain’t my first rodeo. If we went back tomorrow, we’d see it all again.

For next year’s trip, perhaps we’ll see about arranging a tour of a sausage factory.

Thanks, Robert, for all you do.

Best Regards,

Todd Thompson
High School Old Testament/7th Grade Theater Arts
Trinity Christian Schools, Lubbock TX



I’m sorry such was your experience. I have seen the House often come to full order for honorary items, etc.

But sadly, your observation shows another side of it and I think we have a sick culture under the current House leadership though such can’t be blamed for all you saw. You figured out the worst part on your own – the arrogance of many of the current members (not all by any means!)




  1. Bill Thompson says:

    What Mr. Thompson fails to realize is that the Texas Legislature is supposed to meet for 140 days every OTHER year. That’s not much time to address the problems of this state. Frankly, part of the problem is all the ceremonial poppycock that goes on honoring this person and that school group.

    As for the button pushing you saw, that has been going on since the beginning of time and it went on under Speaker Tom Craddick when he was Speaker as well. And morning Roll Call is different from voting on actual legislation. It’s no different in 49 other State Capitols for all practical purposes.

    Frankly I’m pleased that two of the House Members you WILL see on the House floor day in and day out doing their job and listening to the issues of the day are Lubbock’s own John Frullo and Dustin Burrows.

    But as a taxpayer, with all due respect, I’d like to see fewer 99 year olds and 7th grade classes wasting time in Austin and the resolutions churned out for such ceremonial nonsense. That way there would be one less excuse for Legislators to get to work!

    The only worse might be spending time in the Old Testament – it takes too much time away from the true word of our Lord.

    Teacher – teach thyself.

    Bill Thompson

    Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and do not understand these things? – John 3:10

    • Pratt on Texas says:

      Some of the points you make are valid but why the rude response to what was clearly observed? I think part of the observation was that by not being on the floor, having others mark them present when they are clearly not present, is evidence to them not working.

      There are things that explain the absences and arranging for colleagues to vote for them but having another party mark a member as present is dishonest. Also, the lack of order to the point of rudeness and disrespect of the institution is a problem and is very rude to citizens who are there.

      You may disagree with all the “poppycock” which goes on but then the members should stop it, not treat citizens for whom such is an honor rudely.

      And by the way, this trip was from a private school – no taxpayer funds involved.

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