Excuse me while I find the fire extinguisher. My hair is on fire and I should put it out before typing.
A South Carolina middle school teacher has been placed on administrative leave because a parent has complained that the teacher read “pornographic” material aloud to a class of 14-year-olds. The police are investigating the teacher and the school.
The allegedly “pornographic” material?
‘Enders Game’, written by Orson Scott Card; ‘Devil’s Paintbox’, and e-book by author Victoria McKearnan; and ‘Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case’, written by Agathie Christie.
Ender’s Game was one of three books that the teacher read to students, as part of the school district’s literacy initiative. The school has since reviewed the three books and determined that two of them have inappropriate language (including swearing) and “in some instances, subject matter and terminology” that administrators consider inappropriate, says the Standard.
The school issued a press release stating that the student and his mother both considered Ender’s Game to be “pornographic,” and they complained to the school on Friday morning. The school had an administrative conference with the teacher on Friday afternoon, and the teacher was placed on leave. The police investigation into the teacher’s conduct is described as “ongoing.”
The local CBS television news affiliate is reporting the story as a serious crime, because the school apparently did not immediately report the teacher to the police after the parent complained.
I’m a mom. I’ve always tried to keep track of what my kids were reading and looking at. I didn’t want them accessing pornography. And I expected robust procedures at their school to ensure nobody was providing it to them.
But let me be clear. Ender’s Game is not pornography. Agatha Christie — Agatha freakin’ Christie, for the love of all that’s holy — is not pornography. And while I haven’t read The Devil’s Paintbox, I’m going to go way out on a limb and say that a novel written for grades 6-9, published by Knopf, about two orphans taking a wagon train west in 1865 — a book given starred reviews by both Publishers Weekly and Library Journal — is not pornography.
But one parent has found a way to crush a teacher and reduce a school’s literacy initiative to rubble through hysteria and intimidation.
“Aiken Department of Public Safety investigators continue to look into whether there will be criminal charges.”