Illinois School District 126, covering Alsip, Hazelgreen and Oak Lawn, has defended its choice to assign summer reading to 12- and 13-year-olds that is replete with harsh profanity and references to teen sex (even teen sex with adults).
Prairie Junior High School's required reading list for rising 8th graders gave children six books to choose from over the summer. Parents have complained that three of the six books contain adult content which is highly age-inappropriate. Those complaints, however, have fallen on deaf ears. At a recent school board meeting, school board members said they intend to continue assigning the books. The following are excerpts from just a handful of the many salacious passages found in one of the books, Fat Kid Rules the World, by K. L. Going:
(Warning: Adult Content not Suitable for Children):
Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â God, I want to touch her. Her legs are full. ... If I could just reach under that skirt. ... (p. 6)
Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â ...and now he has promised me that a forty-something woman will sleep with me if I'm the drummer (p. 142)
Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â There are far worse examples but we will forego them in the name of maintaining some decency.
(Classy stuff, Prairie Junior High. Is that how you talk in front of your kids, Principal Gwaltney?)
To add insult to injury, the school didn't even have the courtesy to warn these kids - or their parents - about the adult content within the assigned reading. And parents are understandably furious. If one of my daughters came to me at twelve having been assigned this smut, I'd be ticked-off too.
Whatever happened to classics like Ivanhoe or Up From Slavery? Sure, some of them may even contain limited profanity and adult content, but there's a big difference. The profane content in Fat Kid isn't sporadic. It's pervasive and gratuitous. The book has 110 pages containing the F-word and other profanities, and there are multiple crude sexual references.
With all the objectionable material children are subjected to on the Internet, on television and in theatres, it's outrageous that educators, who are charged with helping to mold the minds of these 12- and 13-year-olds, would willingly - if not eagerly - contribute to their moral degradation by pushing this kind of vulgarity on them. It amounts to educational malpractice, and School District 126 should have its mouth washed out with soap.
I telephoned Robert Berger, superintendent of schools for District 126, fully expecting him to assure me that this foolishness would be remedied. But instead, his response was defiant, defensive and arrogant.
Berger refused to answer me when I asked him several times if District 126 believed that such mature content was appropriate for children. (I wonder; if it's so appropriate, then why wouldn't he defend it?)
I asked Berger if one could infer that the district found the material appropriate since it was assigned to children. He quipped, "Infer whatever you want to."
No one's calling for a book burning here, but c'mon, these are just kids. Does District 126 have any standards of decency at all?
Unfortunately the actions of District 126 are symptomatic of a metastasizing moral malady within our larger system of public education. Kids in public schools across the country are constantly inundated with material which promotes profanity, homosexuality, promiscuity and abortion.
The Agenda is pushed and the curriculum set by leftist groups like the National Education Association (NEA), the ACLU and the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN). Even the American Library Association (ALA) gave Fat Kids its "Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature." The book also received a rave review from America's largest homosexual activist literary organization, Lambda Literary Foundation.
By constantly lowering the bar on decency, educators are intentionally playing a game of ideological limbo with our children's moral well-being as they seek to create little moral relativists in their own iconoclastic self-image. And they're robbing kids of great reading like Oliver Twist, Treasure Island and many others in the process.
How low will they go?
By the looks of things in Alsip, Illinois, they're not going to bottom out anytime soon.
Copyright ©2007 J. Matt Barber