English 11 AP
5 November 2004
Penny Culliton walks into her classroom carrying Maurice, by E.M. Forster. She sits at her desk and tells her class to take their copies out. She promptly starts talking about the acclaimed author and his writing style, along with the homosexual ideas in the novel. Students are interested in both aspects of the book, the writing and the ideas, and join in on the discussion. In the middle of class she receives a note saying that she is to see the principal of the school. When she finally meets with him, she is notified that she is being fired for assigning her students a novel with gay and lesbian characters. She, along with her students, was outraged at such news. Nobody could believe that she would get in trouble for teaching what she wanted, not to mention what she was teaching was nothing more than an acclaimed novel (http://users.rcn.com).
Many teachers like this one, avoid controversial books altogether because of the chance of losing their jobs. Books are being challenged all the time for reasons as unimportant such as Ann Frank's Diary of a Young Girl, "being too much of a downer"(http://www.abc.nl). Most of the reasons against these books are not justified, but are still powerful. It is the select few parents who are the cause of the restrictions put on teachers. One of these groups is the religious parents who say that any obscenity at all is against their religion, and that we should not be corrupting kids, and the other group is the parents who have no justification of why these books that their kids read may be more harmful than helpful. Teachers create a safe learning environment in which greater literature, although containing more profanity, may...