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Books Education Sci-Fi News

Teacher Suspended For Reading Ender's Game To Students 1054

Posted by Soulskill
from the it's-the-teachers,-they're-the-enemy dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Forbes reports that a middle school teacher in South Carolina has been placed on administrative leave for reading sci-fi classic Ender's Game to his students. According to blogger Tod Kelly, '[A parent] reported him to the school district complained that the book was pornographic; that same parent also asked the local police to file criminal charges against the teacher. As of today, the police have not yet decided whether or not to file charges (which is probably a good sign that they won't). The school district, however, appears to agree with the parent, is considering firing the teacher and will be eliminating the book from the school.'"
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Teacher Suspended For Reading Ender's Game To Students

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  • Put them to work (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @01:31PM (#39416455)

    We need to find something to do for these people who just sit at home waiting for things to get outraged at (a.k.a. the “volleyball is exclusionary and tag promotes violence” types).

    Some probably poses at least basic intelligence and education. Surely there is some way they can be made a useful part of our society. I think if they had something productive to focus on, we wouldn’t hear about stupid shit like this as often.

    On a more serious note, I get that some people get off on being outraged/protesting/fighting something. We all know people like this. In a lot of cases they aren’t even really into the cause, they just like being behind something. When they have kids, it’s like a whole new world of stuff to complain about is opened up.

    I’m sure this isn’t the first time the school has heard from her (ok, I’m gonna be sexist.. but this _has_ to be the Mother (Mother with a capital "M".. you know the type..)). You don’t go from 0 to this. I just wish these people would think about everyone else they hurt when they indulge their need to whine and at least try to put that energy into something more helpful to the world.

  • by tekrat (242117) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @01:37PM (#39416551) Homepage Journal

    We read Candide. That's gotta be way more "pornographic" than Ender's Game. What is this country coming to?

    Between Santorum, Limbaugh and the rest of those jokers bible thumping their way into our bedrooms but refusing to even tax one cent of a rich person's income (because that's government intrusion), this country is really and truly fucked.

    We're going to be like Argentina, and the shooting in Florida is proving that there are now only gated communities and trailer parks -- and if you're the wrong color in a gated community, you are a target.

  • by jcrb (187104) <jcrb@yahWELTYoo.com minus author> on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @01:37PM (#39416563) Homepage

    I think this is one of those things for which there is a simple solution, find name of parent, all Ender's fans call parent and explain what a complete and colossal idiot they are. Problem solved. News report of parent explaining how their phone didn't stop ringing for several months convinces all future such parents to just keep their opinions to themselves.

    "Pornography" is supposed to be judged by the standards of the "community", I think its time or the community to judge the standards of those who wish to judge the community.

  • Check out some of the comments on the source article [aikenstandard.com]. There are claims he was not really reading Ender's Game, and that the school is covering it up.
  • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @01:43PM (#39416679) Homepage Journal
    Not too long ago, we had a similar issue here when a local religious fanatic [usatoday.com] (who home schools his children, BTW) demanded the local high school ban, among others, Kurt Vonnegut's classic Slaugherhouse V, claiming it too was pornographic in nature.

    The school ended up bowing to the holier-than-thou asshole and banned the book; however, doing so had the unexpected side effect of Slaughterhouse V becoming the most read book in the city of Republic. The Vonnegut Library even donated several hundred copies of the book to the local library, all of which were swiftly checked out.

    Experience tells me Ender's Game is about to become the most read book in Shofield, SC.
  • by SnarfQuest (469614) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @01:47PM (#39416739)

    I remember reading "Lord of the Flies" as a school assignment, as well as "The Jungle", and "Jude the Obscure".

    If those aren't banned yet, then I don't see why they would bother with such a tame offering as "Ender's Game".

  • google to the rescue (Score:3, Interesting)

    by buddyglass (925859) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @01:51PM (#39416823)
    Here's one guy who thinks Ender's Game is porn [plover.net], just not the "sex" kind.
  • by LordNimon (85072) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @01:54PM (#39416855)

    From another article [wrdw.com]:

    "One of the stories was about prostitutes having their faces covered with ejaculation."

  • We expose people of all ages in our society to violence that they are encouraged to perceive as normal, at least normal to experience as a voyeur rather than a participant. I don't think it's a good way to socialize anyone.

    We're about to be immersed in The Hunger Games, because of the movie. I haven't read that, and my 12-year-old has. He optimizes what he reads for a reading score web site that the school district uses, as it's 25% of his grade. So, you can consider that The Hunger Games in this case was recommended by the government!

  • by Noughmad (1044096) <miha.cancula@gmail.com> on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @01:59PM (#39416949) Homepage

    How ignorant.. Thinking there are political sides in America.

  • Re:Put them to work (Score:4, Interesting)

    by fermion (181285) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @02:18PM (#39417235) Homepage Journal
    To continue on the serious note, everyone, I mean everyone, complains that boys don't read. The fact is that if a boy is brought up int he average school, he is given nothing, and excuse my language, but chick lit to read. The only reason I read was because my father read and it was stuff interesting to boys. Heinlein, Pohl, etc. It was pulp, but it got me into the habit of reading so i could read more of the conventional and socially acceptable stuff.

    I mean school is so screwed up that when we read the Canterbury Tales, the cool tales were the ones that could not be assigned.

    To go into conspiracy theory time I think the conservatives don't want kids to read. The books that are allowed tend to enforce a traditional world view that is common to those who are less intelligent. The books that challenge that view, and are allowed, tend to end with the protagonist learning that the protest was a youthful indiscretion.

    So Ender's Game, though written by a very traditional homophobe, certainly challenges the conservative world view and does not end well. Though the male dominated world is validated, there is an indication that doning anything to win a war. As so often happens, single incidences in the book are used to provide cover for objections that is really about general content. In effect, too many parents are afraid when their children learn to think.

  • by q-the-impaler (708563) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @02:19PM (#39417247)

    conservative != social conservative

  • by Black Parrot (19622) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @02:28PM (#39417423)

    "Pornography" is supposed to be judged by the standards of the "community"

    And that cop-out is the very antithesis of the idea of the rule of law.

  • Re:Put them to work (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AK Marc (707885) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @02:50PM (#39417827)
    When the parents send their children to the 6th grade illiterate without complaint, how are they expecting the teacher to get them interested in reading or literature? My son could read at 4 before I sent him to school for the 1st grade. Sure, something like Ender's game would be above him, but he's 5 and in the first grade, he reads "run spot run" books.

    Why is it the fault of the teacher that parents are happy to raise children who are illiterate and the parents actively discourage literacy?
  • Re:Put them to work (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mariox19 (632969) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @03:12PM (#39418221)

    I remember watching a movie, The Firm, where Tom Cruise plays a lawyer working for a firm that turns out to be in the employ of the Mob. The firm operates by mean of a gloved fist. In one scene, Cruise's wife and another wife of a partner at the firm are walking together -- the other wife is a real Stepford Wife type -- when the subject of children comes up. Cruise's wife says that she and her husband plan on having children.

    "Oh, good" says the other wife. "The firm encourages family. It promotes stability."

    In the context of the film, it was obvious that there was ultimately menace behind the firm's "encouragement," but as soon as I saw that scene I thought, "Holy shit! That's how society works. That's what the status quo holds over people's heads." I was young at the time, so it was like a revelation. Later, when I became a history major, I learned that the Norman's of France made their way all over Europe, conquering lands, and were also very active in the Crusades, and all because the bulk of them were unmarried men with nothing to lose and everything to gain. (Inheritance laws deprived younger sons of any automatic livelihood.)

    I guess what I'm trying to say is your point speaks to something fundamental in human society.

  • Re:Put them to work (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Hatta (162192) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @03:19PM (#39418341) Journal

    What crimes?

    Mortgage fraud, perjury, racketeering.

    Should we put in jail the average Banker (middle class/lower middle class) who just follows company policy, and greets you with a smile?

    No, we should put the highest level CEOs in jail. The ones who are responsible for the pattern of racketeering activity. Just like the Mafia, you don't get to run a criminal organization and claim you have clean hands.

    For the most part this is what happened.

    You left a lot out of the summary. Like the part where most loans they were rebundling were known to the banks to be 90% fraudulent. How did they know? Congress and the FBI warned them about it. What did they do in response? They increased the number and percentage of so called "liars loans" they issued. They doubled down on practices they knew were fraudulent.

    Tell me, what innocent explanation is there for that behavior?

    The problem is Outrage. Outrage is getting mad at things that have already happened, it isn't productive method of try to make sure it doesn't happen.

    If you're not mad enough to punish people who have done wrong in the past, there will be no deterrent to stop people from doing it again. If bankers know they can crash the economy and get bonuses for it, why wouldn't they do it again?

    For most events if you are Outraged it means you don't know enough about what happened or you just more interested in revenge then actually solving the problem.

    In your case, you're not outraged because you don't know enough about what happened. Either that, or you're deliberately shilling for the banks.

    Go read William Black's book and/or columns. He's the guy who put nearly a thousand bankers in jail in the much smaller S&L crisis under Reagan. He argues forcefully, with plenty of evidence, that outright fraud was the reason for the crisis, and the only reason we can't prosecute this fraud is political corruption. Is his outrage due to being underinformed?

  • by interval1066 (668936) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @03:37PM (#39418555) Homepage Journal
    Welcome to S. Carolina. We admire men with guns yelling "Yee Haw" who shoot up the criminals, hostges, and bystanders [wikipedia.org] in the name of JVSTICE, but pornography??? By god.. HANG 'EM HIGH!!! Yee Haw!! Give that kid a gun right there, he's my next deputy...
  • by yurtinus (1590157) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @04:04PM (#39418991)
    Come on now, surely you know exactly what's going on from your days in school...

    Student doesn't like the teacher for one reason or another, starts looking for the slightest provocations to harm the teacher. Student finds a reason, rants and raves and cries to mom about it, mom rushes to defend her precious snowflake. School administration fearing lawsuits and the PR backlash sides with the parent and fires teacher. Student pockets this victory and starts looking for the next. Keep an eye on this student, they are going to be big in politics or business some day...
  • Re:Put them to work (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Genda (560240) <mariet@go t . n et> on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @04:35PM (#39419475) Journal

    YOU ARE SLEEP WALKING and call it a life. You don't have to be a statistician to see the middle class is evaporating like a fragile mist on a summer morning... Those jobless hippies, used to be happily employed and have homes just like you. Then they sent their jobs to the third world. Destroyed their life savings by crashing the stock market. Gutted their retirement by turn entire states into economic wastelands call rust belts. Millions of people who did absolutely everything right, People who planned and saved and scrimped for their futures. Held diverse portfolios, and had property owned and paid for... got squashed like bugs. By the millions. You better believe they're pissed and ready to protest. Because they now live in vans and tent cities popping up outside of every major city in the country.

    Your hubris would offend me, if it weren't so clear that you're simply ignorant. Sadly, you're ignorant by choice, and what you don't know my friend, really can kill you.

  • Hurm... that would be a really underhanded way to get around the whole "abstinence-only education" thing. Assign a book (age-appropriate) that has safe sex as a major talking point (like a parent having "the talk" with their teenager) for a book report.

    Bonus points, if any of the kids ask "why didn't we learn about this in sex ed", tell them that by law you cannot say anything and to talk to their parents.

    P.S., one of my health teachers locked the door and basically violated the law by giving us proper safe sex education. I used to think he was kinda flaky, but he never lost my respect after that. I was one of the few students who understood the risk he was taking.

  • by mjwx (966435) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @10:07PM (#39422819)

    Come on now, surely you know exactly what's going on from your days in school...

    Student doesn't like the teacher for one reason or another, starts looking for the slightest provocations to harm the teacher. Student finds a reason, rants and raves and cries to mom about it, mom rushes to defend her precious snowflake. School administration fearing lawsuits and the PR backlash sides with the parent and fires teacher. Student pockets this victory and starts looking for the next. Keep an eye on this student, they are going to be big in politics or business some day...

    The student is not to blame, even if they were looking for a way to strike out at a teacher. The blame here lies in the parent(s) who made the complaints. The parent should have made sure the complaint was legitimate.

    This is the problem with parents today. The school system and teachers are trying their best to educate children but they run head first into "golden uterus" syndrome which has infected parents meaning that their child is the most precious thing in the universe and must be protected from anything slightly remotely harmful. This hasn't been helped by society putting kids on a pedestal (ye olde think of the children).

    The problem is, as you pointed out that Mum, drives her Mum-Tank into the principals office and demands to know why her child has been punished or is learning something she considers unsavoury. Unfortunately school policy is to appease the parents rather then to defend their position. This is mainly due to the fact that if the parent's dont get their way they'll go on TV with a "shocking report" revealing how schools are damaging our kids.

    In Australia it's gotten to the point where the worst thing that can be written on a report card is "Little Johnny needs to pay more attention in class" as threats from parents with no clue and no inclination to punish their little ratbags have become so great. Teachers and principals now live in fear.

    I think parent's need to be reined in, it's their responsibility to punish their children when they do something wrong but unfortunately, they punish anyone else who tries to rein in their inconsiderate, illiterate, little crotchspawn. Maybe if we made parents responsible for what their crotchspawns do, but that wont happen until there is a fundamental shift in the way society thinks (society thinks, isn't that an oxymoron).

  • by jd (1658) <imipak@nosPAM.yahoo.com> on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @03:01AM (#39424281) Homepage Journal

    What you are doing is precisely what I would recommend others do - stay diversified, have many interests that are at most tangentially related, be aware of the wider world, exercise (but not to excess), etc. Stagnation is "easy" and so creates the surface illusion of comfort together with an undercurrent of depression. Based on what you've said, I'm willing to accept that that is something you've avoided in most - if not all - things. There might be areas you could tweak, where you've got a little inflexible, a little rusty, but I doubt you'd get a major boost there. If you keep on expanding the diversity, experiment with new hobbies at random when you get bored of the familiar, etc, then you'll probably find you stay at your typical level of happiness far more than you would if you didn't keep growing, but you probably do that already as well.

    I'm not convinced that the majority of the middle class are anything like as mentally or physically agile. There, I would expect a dramatic emotional (and mental) boost from improving the variety in their life AND boosting the rate of change of the variety in their life. You want the first-order differential to be non-zero.

    What else? I can only suggest the tediously obvious -- keep everything you do a challenge - enough of one to be interesting and stimulating but no more. Maximizes your odds of benefiting and how much you'll benefit by, which in turn will give you assorted blasts of brain chemicals, which in turn triggers neurogenesis, which in turn creates a long-term boost in your happiness. Seratonin, endorphins - all good stuff, but that gives you a buzz for a few seconds. Boost neurogenesis and the baseline happiness will be increased for the next 3-4 years.

    This is part of why stagnation is depressing. The brain is extremely energy-intensive to keep going. The body, having evolved to conserve energy, won't waste it on cells that are not utilized. Of course, most of the brain IS utilized, but there is measurable shrinkage when people do stagnate. Just as cell birth (neurogenesis) raises the baseline mood, cell death lowers it. In consequence, people who are stagnant are more depressed than they would otherwise be. Not necessarily more depressed than average -- a naturally cheerful person who is stagnant may still be "cheerful" (and I'm sure you know lots of those), but it's obvious to look at that that cheer is nothing but a hollow shell of the potential the person actually has. They could be the happiest person alive and yet still be gloomier than they need be.

How many QA engineers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? 3: 1 to screw it in and 2 to say "I told you so" when it doesn't work.

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