Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Student's Essay Results in Arrest

Today on NPR's Day To Day there was a troubling story about a Chicago-area high school senior who recently wrote an essay with violent images that greatly disturbed his English teacher.

As NPR's web site tells the story:

The teacher informed school administrators, who informed police, and Lee was eventually arrested for disorderly conduct.

The action has prompted a local debate about whether officials are overreacting because of the mass shooting at Virginia Tech.

In addition to being arrested, the student was also discharged from his contract to join the Marines following his graduation.

The Chicago Sun-Times has the student's essay posted on its web site (Warning: It's not for the faint of heart).

The story provides for me further evidence of how difficult a job teaching is in this day and age.

During my short time on the school board and observing the dedication that my wife and I have seen from most of our children's teachers, I've had the admiration reinforced for people who have dedicated their lives to teaching.

It is by far one of the most difficult jobs to excel in day-in and day-out.


Anonymous said...

The most striking thing about that miscreant’s incoherent rambling is that the school system sees fit to graduate kids with the writing skills of a five year-old. I find it interesting that the author makes a point to say, “The model citizen would stay around to vote in new board member to change the 4 years of English policy…” which demonstrates that he at least has the clarity of mind to assess what a complete failure his school’s English curriculum is. The OLSD board of education should carefully take note of this, look at its own 37% college freshman remediation rate and then sanitize its own stinking “Literacy” English curriculum—tossing out “Education” Director Eric Gordon along with the filthy bathwater.

Tim characterizes the essay in question as “troubling”, and even issues a warning that it’s not “for the faint of heart”. How gracious. Well, I’ll save you the trouble of going to the link and retrieving it. Here are the highlights that include the most violent and sexually explicit language. Take note that the cro-magnon who wrote this lifted the first line verbatim from a Green Day song. So, not only is he poorly educated, but he’s not terribly creative either.

“..she’d had a one-night stand with my sperm donor to get even for a good thumping”

“ Everyone knows Chris’s story: born to crack cocaine, then got a double dose of shit just after his first birthday when his mother’s boyfriend wrapped his face in Saran Wrap to make him stop crying. At his sentencing the boyfriend said he only wanted to make Chris pass out, not cause permanent brain damage. Oops.”

“Fuck…About four years ago he killed an eighteen-month old infant by squeezing his stomach because he peed his pants…Rance got three years for involuntary manslaughter, was out in a year and a half, then blinded a second child by shaking her…he was my mom’s boyfriend.”

“After a few minutes, the boy pushed the girl’s head down, and she started to kiss his penis. She was still crying because he put his penis in her mouth, and I don’t think you can cry in that position. I had to stop watching at that point because I started to feel sick, but it kept going on, and they kept doing other things, and she kept saying “no”. Even when I covered my ears, I could still hear her say that.”

“She told me about the first time she was kissed. She told me that it was with one of her dad’s friends. She was seven and she told nobody about it except Mary Elizabeth and then Patrick a year ago.”

“….and they’re just about to ‘do it’ when Parker realizes he forgot the condoms…So, what do you think happened?...They did it doggie-style with one of the sandwich bags!””… There was a guy named Carl Burns and everyone called him C.B. And one day C. B. got so drunk at a party that he tried to fuck the host’s dog…..”

Now, what if I were to tell you that what you just read was not from the essay that Mr. Eby is shrieking about, but excerpts from two books that were assigned to Olentangy 9th Grade students by their English teachers—books that Tim Eby defended tooth and nail to be assigned to 13 year olds and protested that their omission from the book list constituted “censorship”? For contrast, here is the worst quote from the essay that Mr. Eby finds so disturbing that he issues a warning:

“Blood sex and Booze. Drugs Drugs Drugs are fun. Stab, Stab, Stab, S…t…a…b…, poke. So I had this dream last night where I went into a building, pulled out two P90s and started shooting everyone…, then had sex with the dead bodies. Well, not really, but it would be funny if I did."

Remember that these aren’t the original, inspired ruminations of a potential mass murderer, but contrivances lifted word-for-word off the lyric sheet of a song. The “F” word is written four times in the essay and “Bullsh*t” is written once. How terrible. If this student had chosen to plagiarize “Whale Talk” or “Perks of Being a Wallflower” instead he would have been committed to a psychiatric ward.

I don’t use the “H” word often because it’s so over-used; however, to say that Mr. Eby is a hypocrite is to legitimize hypocrisy.

Mr. Eby: please explain to me how the essay in question should be alarming to teachers, students and parents but the depravities in “Whale Talk” and “Perks of Being a Wallflower” are suitable for classroom instruction. For reference, please refer to "Who's in Charge of OLSD Literature Review Process? for complete excerpts from these two books that I posted. Therein you’ll find at least 200 iterations of “fuck”, “bitch”, “nigger”, “faggot”, “shit” and other vulgarities that flavor references to, or explicit depictions of, bestiality, pedophilia, rape and rampant drug use.

The point to argue is not complex; it’s fundamental: If it’s a teacher’s right to assign literature to students that contain extreme violence and depraved sexual themes then why should it not be a student’s right to be able to pen similar kinds of literature?

Why are you so alarmed by the contrived, relatively tame essay in question and not the truly depraved, ultra-violent literature that teachers are shoving down our kids’ throats?

Why do you believe it is fine for teachers to assign books to students that contain content that the same students are forbidden to write?

Anonymous said...

Why do you believe student "journalists" should be able to write whatever they want in the school newspaper, but not in classroom assigned essays--particularly those in which the teacher instructed the students to "(not) censor yourself"?

Is your disapproval of that student's writing based on your own personal bias? If so, then who are you to impose your own morality on someone else? Where do you draw the line of what is, and what is not, acceptable student-written literature?

I think you stepped your foot in it again.

Anonymous said...

(crickets chirping)



How can you believe that what that kid wrote is worse than what Olentangy teachers are making our kids read?

Why do you think his literature is unfit for a classroom assignment but teacher-assigned books containing depictions of rape, bestiality, pedophilia, infanticide, rampant drug use and other deviant behavior are fine.

How can you say that an essay containing 4 "fuck(s) and 2 "bullshits" is not for "the faint of heart" but you support teachers assigning books to our kids that contain more than 200 iterations of “fuck”, “bitch”, “nigger”, “faggot”, “shit” and other vulgarities.


Earth to Tim?

Moonbeam Eby - are you there?