A Quick “OMG! Update” on Enders Game & South Carolina

Big, big, big hat tip to Erik who sent me an email today about the continuing breaking news surrounding the South Carolina teacher suspension for reading Scott Orson Card’s Enders Game that I discussed yesterday.  You know how some stories seem too weird to believe when you first hear about them, and then the facts come out and it turns out that in reality it wasn’t so weird after all?  Well, in this case it might be the case of the story not being nearly weird enough to match the reality.

First off, it appears that there were three books read that led to a parent complaining, not simply Enders Game.  However, one book was historical fiction about the Oregon trail, and the other an Agatha Christie mystery.  That this is an issue is perhaps a good jump of point for a discussion about kids books and public education, but I will save that for a future post.  Because the possibly real (but still most fictional) bombshell, according to i109, is this:

According to a news report by local station WRDW, the police incident report in the case claims that the teacher read “pornographic material from the Internet to the students in class. One of the stories was about prostitutes having their faces covered with ejaculation.” But according to the WRDW report, the school is still maintaining that the offending material was just three books that the teacher read to class, which were primarily offensive due to swear words. (Thanks to AJRimmer for pointing us to this.)

If this new information turns out to be correct, it will be clear that what we are dealing with is not a case of overreaction by parents or the school district but rather a middle school teacher with very probable mental health issues. I will have more to say as the waters become less murky, but that is all I really have to say at the moment, save to pat myself on the back for not gratuitously and dryly using the phrase “money shot” anywhere in this post.

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33 thoughts on “A Quick “OMG! Update” on Enders Game & South Carolina

  1. …save to pat myself on the back for not gratuitously and dryly using the phrase “money shot” anywhere in this post.

    Well, you blew that at the end.

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  2. One of the stories was about prostitutes having their faces covered with ejaculation

    I believe that this may b e from the Bible (there’s something very close to that but I’m not going searching for it now).  it would be funny if the tight-wads got in an uproar over the ONE AND ONLY TRUE BOOK!!!

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  3. My mother was a teacher for over 30 years. You wouldn’t believe the kind of crap parents accused her of because they believed every word their kids told them. Sometimes she got in trouble, sometimes not depending on the strength of the principal. My personal favorite was when some parents accused my mom of being a witch and didn’t want their child taught by a servant of Satan. Since my mom’s birthday is on Halloween she would occasionally joke that meant she was a witch.

    This is why I always wait until there is official corroboration of such things before I even raise these stories to the level of rumor.

    As an aside, my mom was always pretty anti-union, but she always knew that the union was the only people who would have her back when some parent accused her of something because their children had trouble distinguishing between something a classmate told them and something she said. She always made sure her dues were paid up, but she hated needing them.

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    • I agree that the story in the police report is likely a student fabrication.  Especially since the school maintains that the teacher is being disciplined for reading Ender’s Game and not for anything else.

      Just after I went off to high school, a substitute teacher was accused of physical violence against students.  He was arrested and escorted off campus by the police.  Eventually charges were dropped when it was realized that several of the students testifying about the incidents weren’t even in the class in question.

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  4. “My mother was a teacher for over 30 years. You wouldn’t believe the kind of crap parents accused her of because they believed every word their kids told them.”

    I tend to tell parents, “If you promise to believe only half of what they tell you about me, I’ll promise to believe only half of what they tell me about you… deal?”  When they realize that the unreliable narrator that is the young child works in both directions, they tend to be a bit more forgiving.

    Of course, working in a private school which not only requires but genuinely allows for more regular interactions with parents, there tends to be a more trusting relationship and problems are often (though not always) hashed out between teach and parent before going up the chain-of-command.  It is understandable that such relationships are much harder to develop in public schools or other settings that have very high child:teacher ratios.  Which is another reason to reconsider those types of environments.

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    • The parent teacher relationship is not harder to develop in public schools. It may only appear to be harder because parents are less involved. At public schools where there are lots of parental involvement, the teachers pay lots of attention to the parents and vice versa. These relationships are up to the parents to maintain and make as well.

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      • My point was that it is harder to foster relationships with 30 parents than with 15.  There are only so many hours in a day.  Additionally, as you note, the expectations are different.  I am required to send home a daily email to my parents.  Even if I wasn’t, most parents would want near daily contact.  It is one of the reasons they choose independent schools.  But there are practical reasons why this is often harder in public schools than private.

        That is NOT to say that privates are better than publics or anything of the matter… only that better parent/teacher relationships can often prevent such situations from arising and that better parent/teacher relationships are facilitated by smaller classes sizes and more intimate communities.  Of course, all it takes is one person complaining so, no, this is far from a guarantee.

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