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Thursday, March 03, 2005

Education for the students

Flea has a really good post up about a teacher she had that took it upon herself to use her writing class to squash creativity whenever it reared its ugly head. She posted in response to this sad story about a kid who is charged with a second degree felony terrorist threatening charge for writing a story about zombies attacking a high school. The worst part is the people who turned him over for writing a zombie story were his grandparents.

I can almost guarantee you I know what's going on here. I would bet $20 those grandparents belong to one of those fundie churches that think horror movies and Ouja boards are all missives from the Satanic cults that all live around us in secrecy. Lest you think I am making this up, let me assure you that the people who believe this stuff are numerous. When I was in high school, a friend of mine whose dad was a preacher at a sane church and I were invited to another church's youth group "party". We went for cookies and punch and instead got a long lecture on the dangers of Satanism and how to know that Satanists are trying to recruit you. We were told to avoid any books or movies with supernatural elements, period. And of course the wicked Ouija board. And, weirdly enough, we were told to look at for Satanic symbols like pentagrams, the Star of David, and peace signs. Yep, the Star of David and peace signs. Though, if I remember right, they didn't call the Star of David by its rightful name. We booked it out of there.

Anyway, teachers and parents who think school is for squashing potential may not be doing their job as educators and parents, but they may be doing those in power a favor. There's more than enough reason to think that universal education is under assault, after all.

112 Comments:

Blogger Kyso K. said...

Wow, and the kid is 18...a felony conviction will follow him for the rest of his life. Even the McDonald's appliaction asks if you have a felony on your record. And it sounds like the prosecuter is going to try to nail his ass to the wall. Someone should call the ACLU for him...he's clearly not going to get any support from anywhere else.

3/03/2005

 
Blogger Hugo said...

Sigh. One of the nice things about being in a relatively progressive, blue-state college is that one has fewer of the wingnuts with whom one has to cope.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

". . . let me assure you that the people who believe this stuff are numerous."

My first (not last unfortunately) encounter with such was when I was at a summer camp in 1978 or 79. One of the kids said his mom was at an exorcism and when they cast out the demon, it looked just like Darth Vader at the end of Star Wars when his ship was blown out of control. Yep, science fiction movies = Satan. Thanks for clearing that up.

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Blogger Ross A Lincoln said...

I have to ask, is there a fund set up for this kid, some way we can get in touch and help him out?

Oh, Amanda, your 20$ bet isn't fair - the odds are too good that you're right. Though I'll bet 50 bucks that what they were actually looking for is evidence of drug use.

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Blogger RustyButterKnife said...

Well, I've experienced examples of both at school: censorship, and fundie ideology.

In sixth grade I was in the TAG program at our school. Before, middle school, the TAG kids would get bussed to a special school where we'd study things the rest of the elementary school wasn't teaching, like astronomy, biology, computer programming, etc.

In middle school instead of doing this, we met every couple of days to work on writing a story. I can't even remember much of what it was about at this point, but 4 of us worked on it essentially from the time school started in september, and went until april, of 1995. Our story had nothing to do with bombing buildings, domestic terrorism or anything like that. There was one murder and a bit of gambling. After the Oklahoma city bombing happened, our project was stopped, and months of work got thrown away in the name of zero tolerance. None of us got in trouble, that I can remember, but i'd love to talk to the girl who was our leader, the one most invested in it, or the teacher who decided to suspend our project.

I was a bit of a nerd at that point, so it didn't make as much of an impression on me then, in 6th grade, as it does now, and as it should have.

As for fundie ideology... The summer between my junior and senior year I decided to take high school biology at summer school, not that I'd failed, just, you know, I was gearing up to go to college and of course, every little bit helps. I'm sure you can see where this is going by now. Anyway, despite the fact that I lived in one of the bluest cities in the country, Portland Oregon, the summer school teacher refused to teach us Evolution, citing the "fact" that it was just a matter of "faith" and "personal opinion." More sad though was that there was only a murmuring of dissent to this. Most people were there because they had failed the class and, I suppose, didn't want to threaten their grade and just wanted to get in and out of the class ASAP. Plus the guy was just so gosh darn polite about the whole thing. If we wanted to, we could read about evolution in the textbook, though we were never tested on it.

So basically, I was a chickenshit once again.

That Star Wars meme is a common one though. I remember a guy from my high school talking about how the Force was really just a manifestation of Satan...

3/03/2005

 
Anonymous Kathy said...

These are the same people who try to get Harry Potter books banned from schools while indulging in the theocratic pornography provided in the Left Behind series.

The ironic thing is that the Left Behind series is incredibly violent and might qualify the authors for prosecution if they were in high school when they wrote it.

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