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Mother complains of Ender's Game "pornographic content"

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Schofield teacher on leave after parent complains of 'pornographic' sci-fi book (Ender's Game!?)




Karen Daily

A Schofield Middle School teacher has been placed on administrative leave while officials investigate whether the teacher breached school policy or the law when he read to his class from a science fiction book described by one parent as pornographic.

Sources said the teacher read from three books, among them"Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card, as part of the district's literacy initiative program. Card's 1985 novel won several science fiction awards and is listed on numerous children's literary review websites as appropriate for children 12 and up.

The teacher reportedly selected the books, but may have not followed school policy that would require the books first be reviewed.

Joy Shealy, school district academic officer for middle schools, said there is a policy that defines steps teachers ought to take when presenting supplemental material.

"One of the things that teachers are supposed to do is preview material for appropriateness for any questions that may come up," Shealy said. "By doing that, we make sure the materials that are presented to students are age and instructionally appropriate - all the things that make a good instructional program."

The incident that came to light this week involved a student's complaint concerning materials characterized by the student and his parent as pornographic, according to a press release issued by the school district.

"The complaint was communicated to the school Friday and followed by a conference with the school administration Friday afternoon," according to the district's statement.

The administration gathered a written statement from the student, which is normal procedure, and initiated an immediate investigation, according to the administration.

After reviewing the student's statement, school officials indicated that the investigation would continue, school administrators stated this week.

Administrators were reportedly concerned with the report that the books had curse words and terms in them that might not be age appropriate.

Early Monday, during the on-going review of the books, including "Ender's Game," administrators learned from police that the same parent who had approached school officials Friday had filed a report with Aiken Public Safety.

The boy's mother told police she had spoken with the school's principal who told her that "they would handle it in house."

The law requires that school administrators notify local law enforcement officers anytime possible criminal activity is alleged.

Police have not filed any criminal charges against the teacher at this time. The investigation is still ongoing, said Aiken Public Safety Lt. David Turno.

After the teenager's mother contacted police, investigators contacted the school.

School officials have since said two of the three books the teacher read were determined to have materials (primarily swear words) and, in some instances, subject matter and terminology that school administrators consider inappropriate for the middle school.

According to commonsensemedia.org, which claims it is has in-house staff and a team of reviewers who are experts in children's media, technology, health and policy matters, "this book was not originally intended for children. The violence is, at times, quite brutal, as kids kill other kids, though unintentionally, and the main character is admired for his ruthlessly efficient violence, though he himself is disturbed by it."

The website also advises parents to be aware of violence, sex and language, but states that the content is appropriate for children 12 years or older.

The student who gave a statement to the school is 14.

Administrators said the investigation will include whether school staff followed district protocol in a timely manner.

"Matters that involve personnel considerations are dealt with promptly but must take into account reasonable measures to protect the privacy of students and staff," according to the district administration's statement.

The school district has been under fire in the past for failing to report potential illegal behavior to local law enforcement in a timely manner.

In September and October of last year, law enforcement officers were notified of alleged incidents at an area school by parents before anyone with the school contacted police.


People are fracking retarded. Ender's Game is pornographic??? Where? I've read it three times and I have never even saw a wet spot. The author is a Mormon for crying out loud. The book reads like warm milk.

Is this woman a religious nut or a garden variety idiot? Why is the school board so gutless as to bend over for garbage like this?

I hate censorship because gay voices are always the first to be silenced.

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Unless I missed something 'Ender's Game' is free of any pornographic content. - In fact, other than a couple of nasty deaths, 'Ender's Game' is pretty much unobjectionable.

Maybe Lady Chatterley's Lover slipped through their net?

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As the article pointed out -- or was it in the subsequent comments -- Catcher in the Rye is required reading in many schools, and sex is a major theme in that book. Many heraled novels deal with sex. There was sex in Gone with the Wind. Since when do a couple of cuss words make a book pornographic? That school is nuts to repond as they did.


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That does it, now I'll have to finish the book.

In what I'd read, Ender is violent in response to a bully, but less violent and more thinking than those around him, a genius kid.

Yes, there is nudity and occasional subtext, but porn? Not that I recall. The nudity and subtext are mild. Ender sees one boy's bits through the transparent screen of his computer, or sees other boys, they see him, and he notices one of the girls, but...that is different than sweaty, out of breath descriptions of sex acts.

A few of the juvenile scifi books I read as a kid had things like that too. So what? In fact, more than one book on our reading lists did. By middles school, most young teens have some idea of all that. Honestly, don't parents remember how they and their friends talked and what they did at that age? Come on, I guarantee any boy who's spent five minutes in a boy's locker room or bathroom or on the field. At school has heard anything that was in the book. These days, probably more so, in personal experience and through TV and movies -- just the nightly news, for instance.

Some examples of books from middle school and high school reading:

A Separate Peace

Lord of the Flies

Romeo and Juliet

West Side Story

Canterbury Tales

The Bible

Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn

Planet of the Apes (movie)

Citizen of the Galaxy (and several others) -- Robert A. Heinlein

Iron Cage (and several others) -- Andre Norton

I Am a Barbarian -- Edgar Rice Burroughs

Yep, there's nudity and sexual references and cussing and violence in each.

Those are just from a moment's thought. I'm sure there are others.

I know! Let's just make it easy and have the kids not read or watch or listen to media. Then the only things they'll learn about are right there in the neighborhood. With any luck, they'll never guess what their dangly bits are for. Yeah, sure.

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Nope, no sex, no porn, and almost no cursing from what I remember (and I read the books within the last 6 months). There is some nudity, but just in a community shower and a couple of scenes where the kids have to suddenly change clothes to don spacesuits for a battle drill.

My only criticism is that the third book gets extremely political and a little boring, and that was enough to make me sign off from the series. But Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow are remarkably good books and will make a good film. (Both are almost identical stories, each told from a different character's point of view). They made a very wise decision upping the characters' ages by about 50% -- I think Ender was only 8, and Bean was more like 6 -- which would make a very strange movie. Making the lead kid 12 or 13 is much more believable.

There is a good chunk of violence and psychological torment in the book, but that's the nature of conflict and the story that Orson Scott Card wanted to tell. I think it's about 1/10th as disturbing as Lord of the Flies and similar books, and actually, the moral lessons in Ender's Game are very obvious. I'd object that the religious parallels are very heavy-handed in the books -- understandable, given that Card is a total nutcase Mormon extremist. But that doesn't detract from his intelligence and skill as an author, and there are very good things in the book.

Harry Potter it ain't, but it's a good story that could make an excellent film.

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