Teacher suspended for reading from Ender’s Game & Agatha Christie

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.

I09 reports:

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.”


8 responses to “Teacher suspended for reading from Ender’s Game & Agatha Christie

  1. “Curtain” is pornography? Frankly, I believe it is way past time that idiocy be declared a crime against society. We would all be better off segregating these people from us and not allowing them to reproduce.

  2. Find me a book at a reading level past 3rd grade without any swearing in it. Where’s the Rev. Bowdler when you need him…? So we are reporting all parent complaints to the police? What an excellent way to manage crime. Ender’s Game pornographic? Please. Card is a Mormon–his books are about as clean as it gets. Sputter. Sputter again. Ship that teacher north–we need more like her/him. Those books are great.

  3. Maybe we should start a letter writing campaign for the teacher. I wonder where we would send them and to whom to get the biggest bang for our, uh, letter writing campaign.

    THey are messing with someone’s career here. I am so sick of starting problems where there are none. THere are plenty of problems in this world to fix your cold stare on mom and kid.

  4. What I meant to say was: I am so sick of “people” starting problems where there are none.

    I don’t try to start any problems. Hell, I’m just trying to make it through life as it is.

  5. words

  6. Oh for crying out loud. Most of our school’s English curriculum is on someone’s banned list: Of Mice and Men, To Kill a Mockingbird, Huckleberry Finn, The Kite Runner, Atonement, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

  7. This is disgusting, what a bunch of idiots! I am with Rich K on this, idiots should be punished for being idiots! Or as Bill Engvall would say “Here’s your sign”!

    I recently read on Harper Lee’s wikipedia page that she slammed a school board back in the 60s for banning her book for being immoral literature by writing a letter to the editor of a newspaper that reported the incident.
    So cool!

  8. Here is the complaint, complete with the mother’s name and address, as well as the name of the teacher involved:

    [DELETED links to the teacher’s name, the mother’s name, her address and work place.] If [DELETED] name and work place is out there, HER name & work place should be out there as well. What an idiot.

    [EDITOR’S NOTE: I agree that the case is idiotic. But I disagree that the mother’s name and address should be made public. It’s wrong to release the teacher’s identity and equally wrong to release hers — for her kid and family, if nothing else. I don’t allow this blog to be a platform for publicizing private information about people on the Internet without their consent.]

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