Via Skyfyre’s LJ, (linked from the Friends, Relations, Cronies, and Colleagues portion of Making Light’s Globally Useful blogroll), we find the account of the doings in Litchfield, New Hampshire, as related in the Union Leader:
LITCHFIELD – Schools Supt. Elaine F. Cutler is apologizing for the use of “inappropriate material in our schools” and said stories in a Campbell High School elective course will be immediately removed from the curriculum.
“Some of these stories contained explicit, vulgar and gratuitous language and school administrators have determined that these stories are not appropriate for a high school curriculum,” Cutler said in a statement to news media this afternoon.
She said the Short Story course will be reviewed and revised over the summer by a team composed of the curriculum director, teachers and parent representatives according to school board policy. Administrative review will occur before the curriculum is initiated.
“First, God created idiots. That was just for practice. Then He created school boards.” — Mark Twain.
Skyfyre has a long and detailed response of her own.
When a book list is made for a school, I don’t imagine that teachers go “I wonder how I can wreak havoc this semester! What kind of trouble can I cause and make my life as difficult as possible?” I imagine teachers ask themselves what their students can learn from the most. And, no, not to learn whatever the teachers own views are. I doubt teachers are actively trying to indoctrinate children into accepting homosexuality and I highly doubt that teachers are trying to impart the knowledge that drug use is not just good, it’s fun! What I think teachers are trying to teach is the ability to think and to read critically.
It’s irresponsible to try to keep children from controversial books. It’s not assigned to make children accept the issues at hand, but to let them know that the issues exist. It allows them to evaluate themselves and come up with their own views on it. Any parent that tries to stop that self-evaluation and personal growth that can come from a book is, I’m sorry, an idiot. All they’re doing is stopping their child from reaching their own decisions and their own potential. If you try to protect children from disagreeable subjects (“Oh, noes! Homosexuality and drug use exist! We cannot let our children know of these things!”) all you do is leave them woefully unprepared for the world outside their parents care. To do that, as [info]jenwrites said, does the student a great disservice. It also shows that the parent doesn’t trust their child to come up with the correct (or what they view as the correct) answer. Something that has always annoyed me is the distrust of the youth by the adults. I don’t agree with that distrust at all.
Notable in the Union Leader’s story:
As [objecting parent] Johnson quoted from the short story “The Crack Cocaine Diet,” there were gasps from the assembled parents and, at times, from members of the school board.
When I read that line, I took it as a big hint that none of them had actually read what was being protested.
You can read the beginning of “The Crack Cocaine Diet” here.