Great Moments in American Education

Oh, good grief:

After a parent complained about an elementary school student stumbling across “oral sex” in a classroom dictionary, Menifee Union School District officials decided to pull Merriam Webster’s 10th edition from all school shelves earlier this week. School officials will review the dictionary to decide if it should be permanently banned because of the “sexually graphic” entry, said district spokeswoman Betti Cadmus. The dictionaries were initially purchased a few years ago for fourth- and fifth-grade classrooms districtwide, according to a memo to the superintendent.

“It’s just not age appropriate,” said Cadmus, adding that this is the first time a book has been removed from classrooms throughout the district. “It’s hard to sit and read the dictionary, but we’ll be looking to find other things of a graphic nature,” Cadmus said. She explained that other dictionary entries defining human anatomy would probably not be cause for alarm.

 I love that “probably”.

 H/t: Andrew Sullivan

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3 Responses to Great Moments in American Education

  1. Ross says:

    I recently found a pocket dictionary that I had when I was 8 or 9 for school and I discovered that it still opens on the pages for “prostitute” and “pervert” even 20 years on. School children have been looking vaguely rude phrases in dictionaries since time immemorial, or at least since the invention of the dictionary.

    Besides if children do here a risque word or phrase then it is surely better for them to look it up in a dictionary than to ask their parents loudly in public “WHAT’S ORAL SEX?”.

  2. Steve says:

    I remember being the same age or so and getting a thrill at finding the word “fuck” in a dictionary at school, triumphantly sharing the entry with my friends and feeling that we had somehow pulled one over on the school…I never understood the banning process, one would assume the word was fallatio (BTW: Google’s spellchecker doesn’t recognize this word) and now, given the mother and ergo the school districts reaction it has, amongst these school children anyway, attained an exponential power from what it had before…it is the word that upsets parents and school administrators alike…and to pretend that nine and ten year olds are not aware of the world around them, more so than we think they are, is Pollyanish.

    Ever the fundamentalist, killing the fly with the shotgun…

  3. Le Mur says:

    “It’s just not age appropriate,”
    Is anyone aware of any empirical evidence to support those types of statements, or is it just that the adults are embarrassed (or whatever)? I would guess that, before the hormones kick-in, kids’ interest in sex would be based on curiosity and not horniness, in which case knowledge would lead to disinterest.

    Google’s spellchecker doesn’t recognize this word
    Because it’s spelled ‘fellatio’?

    I seem to recall that my Jr High (and high school?) had some supposedly kid-oriented dictionaries with all the good words left out, which was no big deal because we had “age-inappropriate” dictionaries at home.

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