This story proves two things: a) Fundies cannot be parodied because they're most likely already being as ridiculous as you can imagine them being, and b) the Global War on Sex stops at nothing and will attack any institution that seems to favor sex for pleasure, including the English language itself.
Dictionaries have been removed from classrooms in southern California schools after a parent complained about a child reading the definition for "oral sex".
Merriam Webster's 10th edition, which has been used for the past few years in fourth and fifth grade classrooms (for children aged nine to 10) in Menifee Union school district, has been pulled from shelves over fears that the "sexually graphic" entry is "just not age appropriate", according to the area's local paper.
The dictionary's online definition of the term is "oral stimulation of the genitals". "It's hard to sit and read the dictionary, but we'll be looking to find other things of a graphic nature," district spokeswoman Betti Cadmus told the paper.
The school says that the dictionary wasn't actually pulled, and much of the blog chatter said. Instead, they said they decided on a creative alternative, that's just mind-boggling to me:
"We are aware that there may have been misinformation and/or misunderstanding with regard to this issue and it is important to clarify that at no time did the District state that the dictionaries were banned from the classroom," Callaway said, reading from a prepared statement.
"We are confident that the Review Committee's decision offers a reasonable resolution to this issue and there provides closure," Callaway said during a school board meeting Tuesday in Menifee.[...]
Callaway said a letter will be sent home to parents Wednesday and they will be given the option of having their children use the previous dictionary or, if the letter is signed and returned to the school, a McGraw-Hill School Dictionary.
Callaway said after the meeting the fact that a controversy developed was not important, but that the issue was resolved quickly by following district policy.
No. That's not an acceptable alternative. Kids with stupid parents shouldn't be punished by having their schools deny them access to the same information and resources as other children. The Cycle of Stupidity has to be broken in some of these families.
The appropriate alternative is to hold a big school board meeting and laugh at the mother who went to the school, pulled out the dictionary, started looking up dirty words, and then filed a complaint when she, at long last, found the term "oral sex" listed in it.
Most people in the town seem angry with the initial decision to pull the dictionaries, which is good. The idea that the dictionary definition of "oral sex" isn't appropriate for kids who have already heard the term is offensive to me as a gay man, since sexophobia is one of the root causes of our oppression, and as a blogger, who's concerned with the speed with which people who find certain speech or information offensive will rush to censor, and as an educator, who'd rather there be more resources available to the kids who are motivated enough to want to know more about the English language (in all its beauty) than fewer.
Schools should be providing age-appropriate information to kids, but cutting them off from the English language, which is their language too, has nothing to do with age-appropriateness and everything to do with power.
And they chose the McGraw Hill School Dictionary? If it's the one I'm thinking of, then it's definitely going to dumb things down. Despite advertising copy, it really only has value up to the third-grade.