So Much For "Live Free"

Looks like a superintendent in New Hampshire caved to 25 parents’ objection against “inappropriate” short stories being taught in an English class:

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.

Irate parents demanded last night that the school board and administrators take action over stories assigned in Campbell High School English classes that they found objectionable, including stories by authors Stephen King, David Sedaris and Ernest Hemingway.

The stories included Sedaris’ “I Like Guys,” which deals with homosexuality; “The Crack Cocaine Diet” by Laura Lippman, which includes explicit sexual material, rape, murder and drug use; a Hemingway short story that includes statutory rape and discussion about abortion; and a King story called “Survivor Type.”

This is perfectly parallel to keeping Huck Finn, Ulysses, the Canterbury Tales, and other books controversial for their time out of classes. These books don’t “expose” children to anything, they add context and background to concepts kids already know in the (likely inaccurate) abstract. Where do you want your kids talking about rape and murder: amongst themselves and on the Internet, or in a structured classroom discussion? What’s more likely to get the parents positively involved in a discussion with their kids? These people are disillusioned about just how accessible misinformation is in the Internet. What if a kid without a fully-developed sense of sarcasm wanders onto the wrong internet encyclopedia?

Several parents indicated that they did not want their children learning about homosexuality in public school, including state Rep. Laura Gandia, who lives in Litchfield.

“My children are being forced to accept homosexuality when this is something I don’t agree with,” said Gandia. “When did acceptance of homosexuality become part of my child’s education?”

Isn’t there something in most school mandates about creating law-abiding citizens? It’s even more ridiculous when you consider that New Hampshire has legalized gay marriage.

My favorite part of the article, though, is in the comments:

It just goes to show you where kids minds are – in the perennial gutter.
I don’t blame parents for wanting more control over what is taught in school.
Schools are to teach History, Math, English, Science etc.
Schools are not to teach social morals, ethics and sexual perversion. These curricula will NOT get a child a good paying job.
– sandy, thornton

Number of jobs I’ve obtained through History, Math, English, and Science: zero. I’ve obtained all my jobs because I’m energetic, articulate, can make judgement calls, and function socially, and tolerate “sexual perversion” (the majority of places I’ve worked have had a pretty big gay population). This girl’s kid is going to have some learning to do when she gets to college.

(UnionLeader.com via the National Association Against Censorship)