The fact that this post was flagged, Josh, tells you all you need to know about these people.
I looked at it. It has namecalling–which is against forum rules. It’s not the theme of the post that’s the issue.
Teek, I’ve read all these responses. Although I have not read the books you reference, I happen to agree with you that they sound inappropriate for a 15 year old. I’m also not surprised that a number of posters take exception to your desire to shelter your child from sexually-explicit material. I once used the word “refuge” in a grad school class to describe my ideal learning environment while objecting to something pornographic that was shown in class and was met by the audible gasps of my colleagues. “Refuge” “shelter” “innocence” - these words are offensive to modern ears, especially educated ones. How shocking that I might wish to study science without viewing pornography. Absurd, really.
I think your original post is the strongest. I would focus on the three points you mention in post 2, with emphasis on the first two. That is, an adult provided your underage daughter with sexually-explicit material and you were not informed or given the opportunity to opt out. This is the secular argument against these books and it’s a strong one. It is more compelling than when you start arguing in defense of your daughter’s purity or discussing how she listens to praise music or that you want her to learn to cherish human sexuality, which will be difficult for most people to relate to.
In addition to the printing out the passages you object to, you might also consider typing up a list of books that are classic, intellectually challenging, and even intense but that don’t include the sexually-explicit material. This will help demonstrate that you are not seeking to “shelter” (again, a dirty word) your daughter from all uncomfortable topics. I remember reading Night by Eli Wiesel when I was in 9th grade. It was dark and intense and I couldn’t eat much for a couple of days afterwards, but I don’t remember it being sexually-explicit and I’m glad that I am familiar with it now. Has she read Great Expectations? Brave New World? The Scarlet Letter? The Scarlet Pimpernel? One would think that a familiarity with these works would do more to contribute to her college prep…
Thank you! I appreciate your advice. It has been fascinating seeing the responses here. I expected them to be different than what I would have gotten from a literature forum, for instance. Some of them were, to be sure. A lot were very thoughtful, considered and reasoned, even when taking the opposing view. Some weren’t.
I plan to take up the secular arguments and let the other arguments ring out in the silence between the words. For anyone with an ear to hear. There are a lot of good people at this school, and the administration has been very supportive of parental concerns in the past, from what I have heard. There have been other suggestions for challenging books in this thread. Thank you for your suggestions! I will add them to my list.
If anyone else has any suggestions for challenging books for a sophomore honors English class, I’d be grateful to hear of them. Thank you! I’ll get in touch with some of my English teachers and professors from back in the day and see what they recommend now days for college prep as well.
Thank you for your constructive advice! Very appreciated!
Keep us posted! When do you meet with the principal?
Yes to all this. The main quibbling back and forth so far on this thread has been focused on the explicit content of the books chosen by the OP’s teacher and whether it is okay to require or allow young teenagers to read them. And while that is a legitimate question, an equally legitimate question for the teacher is why are the students not reading the classics? This is really one of the main purposes of a literature class, to become familiar with the great works of literature. There are so many hundreds of classic works from all authors and eras that you can only fit a few in a high school course as it is–which makes it all the more odd that the teacher is pushing some of these explicit newer books.
They have requested that I meet with the teacher alone first. Friday morning. We had corresponded by email, but not in person. So we will see. I will let you know what happens!
I don’t know why these conversations tend to veer off as though when it comes to our children, our choices are (1) shelter them in a bubble; or (2) let them get exposed to anything and everything no matter the age or sensibilities of the child. There is middle ground to be found. We can introduce our children to difficult concepts about the evil that men do without metaphorically sliming them with it.
One of my majors in college was writing, so I took a lot of English classes and (at least allegedly ) read a lot of books. Honestly, I never even heard of “In Cold Blood” before. I don’t know why we need to give the OP a hard time. There are plenty of literary fish in the sea. If she thinks one book is garbage, there are more than enough others to choose from.
I do agree, though, that in talking with the school and the teacher, bringing up your daughter’s PTSD and making it about her is probably going to be the best approach. If you try to make it about everyone’s kids, you’re going to find yourself having to defend positions you are not in a position to defend (unless you manage to round up a lot of other parents who are just as fired up as you are). If you stick to specifics about your child and her response, there is very little the teacher can say to justify the choice of books.
Which has been my point, too. I think that trying to “save the world” as the later posts devolved to is not helpful. Her kid, her rights. Trying to speak for other children won’t end well.
Many of the issues are faced by teens and these books sometimes do bring healthy conversations. But this is obviously not the case for this student. The teacher’s alternatives show a clear bias for ensuring that children are going to have to tackle some of the adult issues that they may face anyway. This is far from a healthy approach.
All the studies about how bad this is for all adolescents is going to go over like a fart in church. It’s not necessary and it’s not about her daughter. Right now, that’s all that matters.
Thank you! It’s hard to focus on what is important when there are so many elements clamoring for attention, and all seem so important when it is your daughter. This forum has been a great sounding board for all of the things I wish I could say, and the general response to those elements. It has been a bit intense though. It seems that you can be easily misunderstood when you try to explain the spiritual depths of an issue, even on a Catholic forum. Very sad, actually.
I think your advice is spot on—I need to stick to my own daughter, and the objective facts of what has happened here. Surely it will go smoothly then. It will certainly have more of a chance to be effective, even if it doesn’t go smoothly.
I am going to be honest: I am not looking forward to this at all. But God is faithful, and I am praying that I just say what is pleasing to Him and forget all of my self-driven motions and do His will alone. Nothing like a little bit of terror in facing the establishment on your own to increase your faith in God. I just don’t want to let Him down.
Yup, but CAF is fine, the only thing they told me they took exception to was the ‘you hypocrite!’ bit, which is fair enough I guess, I’ll re-word it for them.
The main thing I wanted to express, is not only to show their total hypocrisy, but we need to be righteously angered by these people and the kind of stuff they get away with is just mind boggling and so wrong.
Because ‘agree to disagree’ does not cut it. Especially for this kind of stuff.
Sex and sexuality is not their place, and they have no right to be corrupting kids like they are doing.
God Bless You
Doing drugs is also ‘outside of ones comfort zone’ I suppose they should be introducing kids and young adults to drugs citing all of the exact same arguments you and others defending this have been using.
Sex and sexuality have no place in public education and they have no right.
Reagan - A Time For Choosing - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvg7lRsCVJ8
I think it’s a bit extreme to equate the illegal activity of “doing drugs” with being expected to read things from a scholarly perspective that may challenge your world view. Often the point of reading them is not even to challenge your view but to appreciate some other part of a work of literature, art etc., such as the way it is written, the theme, the structure and so on. If an adult person (college students are over 18 and are adults) is going to be so immature that he will not be able to look beyond the fact that a book has sex or violence in it and see other things like the writing technique, the theme, the moral, etc. he is not really ready for college. I would further add that a lot of colleges are not part of the “public education” system; many are private schools and you are free to choose one where you feel comfortable, or choose not to attend at all, or choose to study something like math where you will never be assigned a book to read that doesn’t involve formulas and theorems.
The Old Testament has a lot of sex and violence in it. Someone just the other day was reposting the part of Maccabees where people are cut to pieces and fried alive. If that scene was in any book but the Bible, parents would be objecting to it in droves.
Is that what you call it?
Christ called the Pharisees hypocrites, and the people who argue for this kind of sexualized content for kids and young adults are no different.
Christ wasn’t on CAF…
…if he was I’m sure that He’d be displeased with more than one poster here.
I’m sure He would too, especially those with the audacity to call themselves ‘Catholic’ and defend the kind of material the OP describes.
Yeah…those would be the only ones he’d have issue with.
Never back down to the school and teacher who did all of this to your daughter. Sex ed in public schools these days (I’m a youth) are quite frankly BS. Most of the sex ed teachers are idiots who cradle gays and homosexuals in their arms, if you make the slightest remark on homosexuality your out of their class. Most sex ed teachers promote pornography, masturbation, and homosexual activities which make me sick to my stomach. They treat porn and all of the other countless sinful activities they promote as nothing. If I didn’t have church in my life I would grow up as some unintelligent being who would support porn, lust, masturbation, gay activities, abortion, premarital intercourse, and maybe rape itself. Schools are stupid to have all of these teachers thinking what they are doing is good because it is not. Release all havoc you can on that school for doing that to your daughter, all her classmates, and all or youths who have been hurt by the “teaching” that they provide. As you can probably tell I’m as upset as you after hearing this about your daughter, now imagine all of the other kids in the US who feel like her but are too scared to speak up. I was one around 7th grade. Please do us all a favor and be relentless to the school. I see that you are not afraid to stand up, we need more people and role models like you especially in the Church. I don’t know about all the other members here but we need to start a crusade against all of this disgusting and filthy “education” Deus Vult!
I think you’re missing the point that the books involved, or at least In Cold Blood for sure, have literary merit for adults and possibly for some teens. The only issue here is whether they’re appropriate as an assigned book for an entire high school class of high school minors.
What you’re doing is the equivalent of pointing at some naked ladies in a painting hanging in the Met and being all shocked about it. The point of the books isn’t prurience. I realize however that some people just can’t or don’t want to see the big picture, so I’ll leave you to your merry way.