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NH High School bans "inappropriate" Ernest Hemingway

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posted on Jun, 19 2009 @ 08:03 AM

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."

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.


I'm used to seeing this sort of thing relating to grade-school kids. I can see why a parent wouldnt want their 4th grader reading some story about drug abuse or homosexuality. But these are high school kids here. What high school isnt aware of these topics? What junior high kid isnt?

It's worth mentioning that even though this incident takes place in NH it's not some rural backwater in the mountains. Litchfield is a suburb of Nashua pretty much and Nashua is one of those cities where all the Massys move to. It's right on the border and it's full of all that metropolitan crap so many urbanites love like crime, high population density, and a worthless restaurant on every corner.

Maybe this is a desperate overreaction by the people of Litchfield as a statement of resentment for the Massification of Southern, NH? Maybe this is how they really feel and the people of Litchfield are moments away from a witch burning? Who knows.

posted on Jun, 19 2009 @ 09:57 AM
reply to post by thisguyrighthere

These people need to be ashamed. Suppressing literature, or art in any form, is abominable. As you pointed out, OP, the concerns may have been valid if this was not high school, but 17 year old kids can go to an R rated movie, where they will see all of the objectionable things in these stories, and more.

And Hemmingway? How do you ban Hemmingway? Do these people strike rocks together to make fire for their caves?

posted on Jun, 19 2009 @ 10:11 AM
reply to post by thisguyrighthere

I think this is just a symptom of a more sinister disease infecting America.
The country as a whole is sinking deeper and deeper in to Schizophrenia.

Censoring art and literature in the public schools because a few intellectually constipated parents find something objectional...

Then on the other hand allow their kids free reign of the www. at home or anwhere with a laptop, where anything and everything is accessible.

Or is it a political control issue? Right wing fundy loonies taking over the public schools? The fundies won't be satisfied until they control all public media, and make their cosmology law just like in Muslim countries.

I predict next an assualt on the internet like in other facist/communist countries.

It's a brave new world, welcome to the monkey house.

[edit on 19-6-2009 by whaaa]

posted on Jun, 19 2009 @ 10:57 AM
A lot of parents object to explicit subject matter, while others see nothing wrong with it. I am surprised that these topics were actually part of the curriculum in a public school. I think that is great!!! Too bad it got shot down the way it has.
The proper way to handle this sort of subject in a public school setting is to make the parents aware of it and have them provide consent for their child to participate. Some would still have gripes about it, but you can't make everyone happy.

posted on Jun, 19 2009 @ 12:19 PM
You know, I had an old English teacher who said it like it was. In first year he told us pretty much anything we wanted to know (and some we didn't) about sex, drugs and life. We didn't even like him but he gave us it straight and we listened and took it in.

After the class we all turned into rape crazed bi sexual drug addicts... No actually we left educated back to our childish fun armed with knowledge that would help us in the future... for an hour or so we laughed about nobs and sex and stuff but then forgot.

I imagine some parents would go crazy if they had found out but I guess they didn't or if they did I reckon this teacher would have put them straight.

Rape's bad so we won't even talk about it with our offspring/pupils. I can't even begin to go into how wrong this is, the internet is not a big enough place to contain the words required.

posted on Jun, 19 2009 @ 12:42 PM
Here in Oregon we shamefully had at one point in time the longest list of Banned Books for Public Schools and Libraries. Everything from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Defoe's Moll Flanders, Arabian Nights, Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass, Jack London's Call of the Wild, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Anna Sewell's Black Beauty, Shakespeare's Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear and Twelfth Night, Grimm's Fairy Tales, Samuel Clemen's (Mark Twain) Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind, George Orwell's Animal Farm, Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, Alduous Huxley's Brave New World, and hundreds of others.

The rationale for these bans is that they were "indecent".

When the Oxford Unabridged Dictionary got banned in Oregon, teachers and librarians alike took that as the last straw. Using the same arguments that got these materials banned, they got the Bible banned in Oregon for graphic depictions of Rape, Sodomy, Incest, and Genocide.

After the Bible was officially banned in Libraries and Schools, the religious groups that were banning literature wholesale in our state stopped their madness.

"Just the omission of Jane Austen's books alone would make a fairly good library out of a library that hadn't a book in it. " - Samuel Clemens

posted on Jun, 21 2009 @ 11:02 AM
this is a thing about America that really scares me the thing that you cant express yourself.
In Denmark I believe it was in 8th grade, we watched a movie called festen(the celebration) where a man confronts his dad about him abusing him as a child, and it goes in detail if you can say it that way.
and we read a story called nordstørm i believe it was called, about drug addicts and it was very graphic.
to be honest i learned about life in the movie and that book than I learned after to years in America.
USA need to chill more and let the expose the kids to the real world that is waiting for them after college.

posted on Jun, 21 2009 @ 11:47 AM

Originally posted by danishD
this is a thing about America that really scares me the thing that you cant express yourself...USA need to chill more and let the expose the kids to the real world that is waiting for them after college.

danishD, America remains a Nation divided still, 144 years after the end of the Civil War. A good half of our country is unbelievably Puritanical and prudish, more so than any other country, even SE Asian countries such as Singapore and Thailand. The other half is open-minded and shares a lot more in common with our Continental cousins across the pond. Even though the Civil War is no longer being fought on battlefields with the loss of blood, it is still being waged in the Courts as two conflicting sides battle over conflicting ideological issues (i.e., Right to Choose vs. Anti-Abortion, Separation of Church & State vs. Prayer in Schools/Teaching Christian Creationism in Schools, Right to Free Speech vs. Censorship & Indecency Laws, etc.). Just because half of our Nation would rather stifle Art & Literature, and stunt the maturity and intellectual growth of their children by limiting them to reading but one book (the Bible) and refusing to allow them to gain an education from the greatest literary minds of History, not all Americans are that way. The other half of us are fighting to allow our children to have the right to read these examples of great literature.

When the Christian Right bans a book, everyone else bans their only book. The Christian Right gets the point and backs off. Eventually they forget, get uppity and start banning books again, so we ban their only book again. Eventually they'll learn.

Some would say that such is what makes America so unique. People still have the right to fight for whatever cause they deem important to them (even if many of those things seem quite trivial). People have the right to modify the laws to ban books, just as people have the right to block them from doing so by using the same laws. It's like a never-ending Tug-of-War between both sides.

There is no need to fear Americans, just fear half of Americans.

posted on Jun, 22 2009 @ 01:28 PM
There are tons of good books at the book stores.
Children do not need complicated adult writing.

Teachers should take children to the book stores and all
the payola for school 'supplies' the school boards use for junkets
can pay for the kids books at the store.

posted on Jun, 23 2009 @ 06:17 AM
reply to post by TeslaandLyne

I cant wait to see if one of these students get caught with a Hemingway from the library the parents attempt to have "objectionable" materials removed from the library.

posted on Jun, 23 2009 @ 08:07 AM
It's born of fear. There's a lot of power in the written word, and I think it scares the crap out of a lot of people, regardless of the content within.

Strangely enough, I remember HS better than college. We read a few books that raised more than a few brows; some were good, some bad. But they weren't just handed off for us kids to read without discussing them further. All the books came up for discussion in class- chapter breakdowns, metaphors, symbolism, etc.

The point- regardless of HS kids read about abortion, drugs, sex, rape, (which are issues at one point everyone will learn of through news) it comes down to thought processing and individualism. Each kid will have opinions, expressions, and views which will come out in class discussions which help shape their minds and get a foothold on the real world outside.

Seeing as the material inside are issues they will eventually know of and may even deal with, I hardly think it's the material. What's worth not knowing about?

I think these people are actually banning free thought, individualism, and expression. Thinking isn't learning- not the kind that's desired anymore.
And good or not, those books would inspire kids to think, to talk, to debate.

posted on Jun, 23 2009 @ 08:18 AM
I think we should all make an effort to also go to art museums and cover
all those shameful paintings of nudes.

Yep, thats it. Thats the ticket.


posted on Jun, 23 2009 @ 09:01 AM
reply to post by dgtempe

Absolutely right dg! And farmers need to put clothes on their farm animals.
I have seen the most disgusting display of private organs on almost all kinds of livestock as I drive by farms and ranches. Some close to schools, easily with in view of our precious children.

Our youngsters need to be protected from seeing any type of sexual activity even from animals. The farmers should be required to build fences so the kids and public won't have to see disgusting carnal displays of filth even by animals.

[edit on 23-6-2009 by whaaa]

posted on Jun, 23 2009 @ 11:24 AM

Originally posted by thisguyrighthere
reply to post by TeslaandLyne

I cant wait to see if one of these students get caught with a Hemingway from the library the parents attempt to have "objectionable" materials removed from the library.

At least only one family gets infected, thems the breaks.
Who needs to read about Hemingway bad things are happening every day.
We read the bad in the news papers and hear on TV.
The family can burn the book cause they paid for it.
Oops, no they didn't.
The government just wasted some money.
Just like the government does on Alien books.
They don't sell and the government pays for them shorting the book sellers.
Some books do sell but they are forced off the retailers shelf by getting 'lost' in transit.

posted on Jun, 23 2009 @ 11:37 AM

Originally posted by TeslaandLyne
There are tons of good books at the book stores.
Children do not need complicated adult writing.

Teachers should take children to the book stores and all
the payola for school 'supplies' the school boards use for junkets
can pay for the kids books at the store.

You are absolutely right. Even though our 16,17, and 18 year old children in High School are old enough to enlist in the Military (and perhaps soon, old enough to vote), it is important that we continue to shelter them and only allow them to read Dick & Jane, Clifford the Big Red Dog, or other "safe" books targeted to 3-5 year old audiences (although Madeline and Curious George should not be allowed as they may make our children sympathetic to those awful French!). Our children deserve the right to be illiterate so that the liberal media who are literate can better manipulate and control them.

Oh, but wait...if you allowed teenagers to buy their own books, do you think they'd actually have the discretion to buy anything other than the Twilight Books? There's nothing like reading trashy teenage Vampire Erotica! That's certainly an improvement over reading Hemingway!

My gawd! There are far worse things than Hemingway shown on Television. Even the nightly news is far worse, never mind what these teenagers are spending their time watching! Heck, let's not even consider what they are looking at online!!!

TeslaandLyne do you have children? Do you live in the same world that the rest of us do, or are you just hiding out in your backwoods shack in the hills of Montana?

You can't shelter a young adult who is about to become independent. The best you can do is raise them right to be able to make informed, educated choices for themselves. If Hemingway is offensive to you, then your teenager will come to that conclusion on their own. Deny your teenager the ability to decide for themselves and it will backfire on you. Heaven knows that every teenager eagerly does whatever their parents or authority tells them is bad for them! If you don't want them reading Hemingway in High Scool you should be telling your children that Hemingway is good for them. They'll automatically be disinterested and ignore it if you do!

posted on Jun, 23 2009 @ 12:44 PM
Sorry didn't meant to suggest unsupervised selection by
the children at the book store.

The parents are the guiding light and other than text books for
school the rest of the time is best occupied by good books that
the parents know about.
So good books grow up good people.
As far as I know, that's what works bests.

I don't have case studies.
I just made a topical comment and did not mean to suggest that
schools children would make unsupervised book selections of trash.
As some one took my suggestion the wrong way I had to post
again and luckily I stopped by.

ED: Not against freedom of the press, just the use of freedom in
book selection the way people see fit for their children.

[edit on 6/23/2009 by TeslaandLyne]

posted on Jun, 23 2009 @ 02:02 PM
Parents have a right to control the curriculum of the schools which their children attend.

There is no shortage of good literature that is not profane or controversial in any way. There are even works by some of the authors listed that are not profane or controversial.

When these kids get to college they will get a snoot full of topics suitable for mature minds, even though many of them will be years away from achieving a mature mind.

In the interim, there is nothing to stop these kids from going to the library or to a bookstore to obtain the material the choose to read.

posted on Jun, 23 2009 @ 02:17 PM
reply to post by GradyPhilpott

Star for you. You are absolutely right. A few things that crossed my mind are, just because it's written by Hemingway, doesn't make it proper to teach in a High School. Also, there are many threads here on ATS about schools wanting to teach about homosexuality or sex education and people are screaming "It's the parents right to pull their kids out!" or "That is the parent's responsibility to teach at home!", well, doesn't the same idea apply here?

I certainly don't think my 15 year old should be reading certain books yet, and I think it's my right to dictate that.

When I was a Freshman, my class was reading Dracula. My mother forbade me to read it, as was her right. I had to read and report on Les Miserables. At the time, I was a little embarrassed that I was not doing the same work as the rest of the class, but you know what? Les Mis was a great book. There is always other great literature to read, reading those certain books in High School is not a life or death thing. They'll read it later in college, or on their own, when not under their parent's roofs.

posted on Jun, 23 2009 @ 02:21 PM

Originally posted by thisguyrighthere

I cant wait to see if one of these students get caught with a Hemingway from the library the parents attempt to have "objectionable" materials removed from the library.

The next time a high school kid gets caught reading ANY book in the Library we should celebrate

[edit on 23-6-2009 by IranRevolutionary]

[edit on 23-6-2009 by IranRevolutionary]

posted on Jun, 24 2009 @ 05:05 PM
reply to post by Layla

Hills Like White Elephants

Here is a synopsis of the Hemmingway story in question (presumably, the only one that fits the description). Why exactly is this inappropriate for high school?

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