Danbury parents protest 'vulgar' book

A group of parents, most with eighth grade students at Danbury Middle School, have banded together to protest what they say is a vulgar book their children had to read aloud in language arts class.
Jessica Cuffman
Feb 14, 2013

 

More than a dozen people spoke at the Danbury school board meeting Wednesday night about "Fallen Angels," a 1988 novel by Walter Dean Myers that centers around the life of a teen who enlists in the Marines and experiences controversy within his unit.
 
Most of those who spoke took issue with severe language in the book and asked why they weren't made aware of the content before students had to read the book aloud in class. Others expressed support for the book and teacher Tim Heffernan.
 
In response to the outcry, parents and students have been given the choice of an alternative book, "Johnny Tremain."
 
For more on the book controversy, pick up a copy of Friday's Register.

Comments

pptrsha

nickelodeon sponge bob Disney channel even I have heard words and situations that bother me I think they are exposing kids to too much stuff
I have not read either book listed here but I would rather my kids READ ANYTHING rather than watch tv or play video games anybody remember catcher in the rye?

Perkahontas

Johnny Tremain features graphic deformity and revolutionary extremism.

The Bizness

Catcher in the Rye is still read in many high schools.

The Bizness

or how about The Chocolate War? That was a good high school read

Unassumer

If you think your children will never hear bad language or encounter vulgar situations in life, then you are ignorant and unrealistic. Life is good and bad, wonderful and awful, ecstatic and violent. One has to be cognizant of both to successfully function in society. You cannot protect your children from the terrible side of life. You cannot censor the news or books to hide the truth from your children. You are doing them a disservice by pretending that life is all good and clean and sweet. It's not.

anthras

I do think that teens in school can be influenced one way or the other. When I was in high school the school principal was also the chemistry, physics and science teacher.

One day the chemistry lesson finished a little early and he gave us one of his life lessons talks I feel because he really cared for us.

He talked about swearing and foul language and told us that he knew of only reasons that people used that kind of language. He said that one reason is that they are immature and it makes them feel big and the second reason is that they are lacking the proper vocabulary to express them selves with out using foul language as fill words.

Thinking about what he said I felt that he was correct and I did not wish to express myself in an immature way nor did I want people to think that I lacked a sufficient vocabulary to express myself without using foul language and to this day I do not use that kind of language

indolent indiff...

thats funny, I listened to an argument in a school about a month ago between a teacher and a student. it was F this and you are a MF and you are a worthless B. at least they are reading something and not you tubing lesbian kissing movies

The Bizness

Whats wrong with that? haha

My Opinion is...

I love people who try to live under a rock and then when their children are grown they have no idea what the real world is like and can't function in it.

grandmasgirl

You are right on! I hate vulgar words and remember the first time I heard them used. I must have been in my middle 20's. Two people (who did know how to use them) got into an argument. I was traumatized for weeks!!! Now almost every book I pick up has those words or a very explicit sex scene in it. And if the kids watch any TV, they know them. They might bleep them out, but you can still read their lips.

eriemom

I wonder if the parents would have a problem with their children reading Tolkan's series? Very violent. At least the ARE reading. I gave my kid comic books to get him to read. That being said, reading the book aloud could be problematic.

Contango

http://www.amazon.com/Fallen-Ang...

Scroll down the page to read some of the comments.

Johnson's War was crap - the more vindictives the better.

Eighth grade? They're 13-14 yrs. old. They'll be eligible to be cannon fodder for the U.S.' Endless War soon enough. Might as well get a feel for it.

"Be the first one on your block to have your boy (or girl) come home in a box."

wiredmama222

you know...this war mongering attitude is getting a bit old. As is your constant attitude of doom and gloom. Can you not be happy in this world or era or is it something else? Why is it that you always see the dark side of everything? I really wish that sometime, somehow you see the light at the end of that dark tunnel you have yourself in and join us out here in the daylight. I really like you and would love to see you happy.

Hopperthe2nd

Long time lurker, 1st comment. Agree with Contango, the world is not as sanitary as we would like to believe, or want. The last several attempts at our leaders trying to sell us "just" wars have all ended with the truth coming out too late. We must teach our children to question everything or we will soon be sending our grandchildren down the same landmined dirt path or steamy jungle our leaders seem to like to send OUR sons and daughters off to. Our language too is changing, seems like the only way some people can be heard is to shock us with words.

tk

It's true that kids hear all kinds of language and are exposed to situations we would rather they not be exposed to but we don't have to encourage it and teach it.

SamAdams

Sorry, but I have to side with the parents on this one. I realize that kids that age have heard all the words (and probably used more than a few of them), but don't we try to teach them NOT to use those words, that other words will do? I also agree that reality is an important thing for even a school-age child to face, but again, it doesn't need to be graphic!

I'm glad the kids are reading, but there are literally millions of books out there, some of which would provide comparable lessons without vulgarity. And those books weren't chosen because...?

Rabbi

Sam you make valid points. Allow me to respectfully respond:

When content is graphic and (sometimes vulgar, excluding sexual content)students learn more because they pay attention. Students need to experience alternate realities and experiences to develop empathy. What better place to explore such concepts than within the confines of a classroom- where the conversation can remain clinical and academic.
The truth is that parents cannot monitor the language and content of their kids conversations when they are not present whether on facebook, twitter, in the hallway or any social event where teens are present. As far as Facebook and Twitter are concerned parents can and should do more-kids don't learn appropriate digital citizenship in a vacuum- they need guidance from responsible adults. Read my other post for more info.

wiredmama222

Respectfully, Sam, this is the perfect time for the parents to get in touch with their kids and set up some really good conversations at home with these kids. Instead of complaining to the board and the teacher, they need to really get in "touch" with their kids and "discuss" this with their kids. What a PERFECT opportunity to start a dialogue with their kids that may take them all the way through their teen years. It is the best way to start and keep a line of communication open with a teen. Sit and listen to what the pre teen or teen has to say, share your point of view with your child. They DO have opinions and if you handle it right and not get all emotionally charged up, you will have the ability to carry that communication all the way through high school.

These people are missing the chance of a life time and I hope they realize it. Some of them may not miss the boat, others will. For the sake of those kids, I hope many of them get it.

luvblues2

Amen, wiredmama. I told my son when he was twelve that he could cuss in front of me, but not in front of any female and especially his mom and gram, (mixed company, more or less) and not in public. I also told my grandson the same thing just this year. I know they cuss. I did. c'mon....

The Big Dog's back

So true wired.

Rabbi

The only dfference between the author and the students is that the language and suggestions used by the author is printed in a book. If one were to "be a fly on the wall" during students conversations, they would hear far worse. Peruse students facebook and twitter postings- many are loaded with foul language and suggestive remarks.

From an academic standpoint, content needs to be powerful and engaging to reach today's students. The fact of the matter is that they have changed. The way they learn doesn't at all match up to what adults are accustomed to in the 20th century classroom. Educators must adapt, or our students will fall even further behind.

Kimo

Type some of the "words" that a young man was forced to read aloud in class in this comment section and see how long it lasts.
If most of you think its ok for a student to be forced to read that type of language in a class room, how does the SR get away with removing comments with those same words? Seems like a double standard to me..........
.

Contango

@ Kimo:

Simple; it's your tax dollars at work.

It's the difference between public and private.

So you don't believe that Obamacare should force private religious based organizations to pay for contraception?

Can we SAY: "double standard"?

Admit it: You liberals won't stop until there is no more private and you're in every one's business.

My Opinion is...

Kimo - you said "a student to be forced to read". Does that mean that the student voiced an objection to the teacher that they would rather not use that language? If so, that may be an entirely different can of worms. If no objection was given to the teacher, but only stated to the parents later then how would the teacher be "forcing" the student? My kids have done chores I've asked them to do without complaint, and then told their father that I "forced" them to do whatever it was because it suited their mood at the moment.

Gyro Cart Guy

History has always shown that every once in awhile you need a good old fashioned book burning.

Floyd P

Despite the obvious argument about the content of video games and the blasé attitude towards it, not only should these children be allowed to read any book with "severe language" (ahem, First Amendment), the teacher should require a discussion of the subject afterwards. By delving into and asking questions, do children learn to form their own opinions and will be able to discern what drives a person to use severe language. Required reading without discussion and memorized history without questioning does nothing to teach.

Kimo

Like most "stories" printed in the SR, there is more to this story. Yes, objections were raised. Some students felt that they were being bullied......
.

The Bizness

One thing I hate about modern society is that you have to be so dang politically correct.

Fat people are fat...and no you aren't beautiful, and you shouldn't be proud of your curves.

Some kids are going to get teased, but ya know what those kids can either respond and grow into great adults, or they can whither away. Survival of the fittest is at work.

We are not meant to all be contained in our own little safety bubble.

It isn't a sterile world so put your clorox bleach wipes away and build up some immunity!

Contango

It's called "self esteem."

IMO, the problem with this society is that we have far too much "other-steem."

We allow others to define us and to tell us how to feel.

We are a very co-dependent society and it is what we are taught.

"The most important intellectual ability man has yet developed - the art and science of asking questions - is not taught in school!"

- Neil Postman, Teaching As A Subversive Activity

The Bizness

We agree on this one my friend

Contango

Thanks. Until I read Melody Beattie's book yrs. ago, I hadn't realized how programmed I was.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/0894864...

Kinda like takin' the red pill in "The Matrix." :)

Rabbi

Postman's quote is right on the mark. Unfortunately, we are stuck in a 20th century teaching model. "Why?" you may ask? Because teachers are more focused on teaching content and not problem solving skills because it's easier for them. Compound that with the fact that our most experience teachers were "taught" how to teach when- in the 20th century. The imposition of the mandatory 30 hours of continuing education requirement was meant to bring many teachers up to date, but it did little more than provide raises to teachers who did little to change practice in the classroom. This leaves the newest and brightest teachers who have been trained to teach from a problem/inquiry based (which can be applied to any subject matter) perspective searching for jobs that they will oftentimes wait years and years to obtain. This is what slows down changes to education.

Contango

@ Kimo:

"Bullied"? The poor, poor darlings.

Better learn to "grow a spine," the "real world" tends to be even worse.

Martial arts.

BW1's picture
BW1

bullied by other students, or by school officials?

Rabbi

For anyone interested in a more thorough explanation why this book should be read in the classroom, please view the following video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B...

luvblues2

Excellent vid, Rabbi. Thanx.

wiredmama222

Thanks for the site. Good points.

Kottage Kat

Does peer pressure enter into choice of language, how many of the youth of today will stand up for what they know is right.
There are excellent classics that teach life lessons without vulgarity.
Telling me that foul language contributes to the story-----not

Contango

The Bible is full of incest, death and destruction. Maybe they would be better off reading that?

Also, better sanitize the movies and TV of drugs, language and murder.

You're right however, I could have done without seeing Dennis Franz's tush on "NYPD Blue" yrs. ago.

Kimo

Re: "Does peer pressure enter into choice of language, how many of the youth of today will stand up for what they know is right."

If and when the entire story is printed, you may find out that one young man did take that position......
.

Contango

Golf clap.

BW1's picture
BW1

Dish - tell us what you know, Kimo. We could grow old waiting for the Register to tell us.

Kottage Kat

Thank you for the information.

Kat

ladydye_5

Do these children watch Reality tv? What about watching Teen MOM. Have they been to an "R" rated movie? Heck have you heard these children talk to each other! Have ya seen their twitter or facebooks. Nevermind the video games they may or may not play. Sorry folks the world is not all roses and rainbows.

excel

Welcome to 2013 where kids know about drugs and sex in the fourth grade. Kids in a public school system are far from sheltered nowadays, get with the times.

Kottage Kat

Sorry
My generation gap is showing, we did not have all the outside influences.
Parents gave all the reality I needed. Right and wrong and freedom to make choices, then learn from my mistakes.
No electronic babysitting, welearned to entertain ourselves.
Remember: hermits have no peer pressure
HAPPY VALENTINE'S. DAY

Wald

The book does have graphic content and language, but it isn't gratuitous. However, eighth grade is a little young for that book. Tenth grade would be a better year to read it.

rickross2

Who cares??? Theres always a bunch of whiner/sissies that need something to complain about. The days of turning the other cheek are gone. We demand answers and consequences. Phuck off, theres your answer.

wiredmama222

I remember when the book "To Kill a Mockingbird" was banned reading for most students because of its content. There was a terrible upheavel in most schools that anyone even "suggesting" that it be read at the junior or senior high school level was in terrible trouble. By the time most of us got to college it was reguired reading in our lit classes. I couldn't see what the fuss was all about. In fact, I found it to be informative and very sad.

When the movie came out, it was a blockbuster, too.

This will probably be a movie that most of these kids will flock to see it as well. Imagining that these kids do not already know these words or haven't heard them from TV, the movies they see or even in their own homes is just plain nonsense.

Education is just that...a preparation for their future and about life. It should teach you to think...outside the box. Perhaps these parents should sit down with these kids and do some "damage control" at home if they feel so strongly about all of this. Why not TALK to your kids and find out how they feel before you stop the education at the school? See what your kids have to say about the book and how they feel about it?

For once, start a conversation with your children. You may be surprised what they have to say to you in return. Your pre-teens and teens have keen minds these days and they work. The lines of communications need to be open. That is what stops trouble later on with your kids. So stop fussing at the school board and at that teacher and start talking to your kids. Not with criticism, but with an open mind.

LISTEN to what they have to say and share your opinion, but only after they have given theres. You may be pleasently surprised that the child you raised has pretty good values...you put them there didn't you?

mhdgirl

I just want to say that the parents that are complaining may want to take a look at their child's Facebook page, or listen to some of the music they listen to, or turn the tv on.. If reading the f word is the worst thing your child is going to do then I think you should be proud. I can't believe what a big deal this had become, it's ridiculous.. Are these parents saying they have never slipped up and said a swear word in front of their child?? I think not! What is the big deal? I'm not really a big fan of the teacher but I will stand behind him on this one, its just a book and its been read at Danbury for years, and hopefully will be for years to come. If the Danbury parents are upset about this wait until they get into high school and have to watch the holocaust movies in English class, it's a lot more graphic. I think if you really have that much time you might as well find something good to complain about, if not keep it to yourself. You all have the option of open enrollment, go find out how bad you have it at Danbury please!

Gyro Cart Guy

Let's just not force Johnny Tremaine on these innocents. I'm still scarred from when [SPOILER ALERT] Rab dies.

themomx6

Since those kids are being taught to read from those books and that those words are a "part of life", I wonder what will happen when one of those same kids uses one of those words in class. Maybe in a sentence as part of their answer to a question. Bet they will get in trouble for it, and then wonder why, if the teacher taught them those same words from reading a book.

JTutt

This book was being read out loud in class in its entirety. The book uses graphic language such as cursing, slang, and other suggestive words. If the words in this book were to be used by any student in school and a teacher overheard they would definitely be punished. Yet, for some reason, they are allowed and encouraged to use those words in the classroom setting.

The students were told NOT to bring this book home, and were told that a permission slip was not needed to read this book aloud in class. A student specifically asked the teacher if there should be a permission slip sent home and signed due to the questionable content. To which the student was told NO and that he ran out of time before they started reading the book. This student had also been told that if any parent does not let their child read this book in class then a lot of extra work will be placed on that student.

No permission slips were sent home for parental consent on this rated R book, and no alternative reading was assigned until 2 weeks after the book was started. At this point the students were already half way through the book. This book has been banned in many schools and public libraries across the country, and is still highly controversial. We as parents need to stand against this filth in our schools. The children have enough struggles these days and don't need to be further influenced by this book.

Danbury Schools as a whole claims that they are constantly trying to "Raise The Bar" in educating our children. It is teachers like this one that take this statement from believable to just a nice thing to say to get more students and pacify parents. Since this book was brought home by one of the students, there has been multiple children standing up and speaking out against the way they are treated at Danbury Middle School. There are a number of teachers, not just one, that seem to be ineffective and/or downright bullying our children on a day to day basis.

I along with other concerned parents will not tolerate this type of behavior from the adults at this school. We are committed to making sure our kids are safe and secure both physically and mentally at Danbury Schools. We will do whatever we can to legally, morally, and ethically insure this is accomplished.

JTutt

As a result of the meetings last night and the media being involved some positive changes are beginning at Danbury Schools. I along with other parents are pleased to see this coming about. We had no intentions of making this a witch hunt on the teacher but rather a chance to show our children to stand for what you believe in. Too often people are afraid to stand up or say anything because they worry about comments being made by there peers. Most of the comments on this section are made by uninformed people. Reality is most of you need to get informed and make educated comments instead. I teach my children about the real world. I have also been to Iraq and would go again. I can teach my children first hand about war because I was there. This class is a Language Arts class not a History Class. If you want the kids to learn about war take them to a Veteran and let them talk and ask questions. This was also about Teacher Conduct in the class room and not just the book almost all the comments on here refer to the book. The book being read with no permission slip got this train rolling but new information came out everyday that kept this train on the tracks. There are many issues in our schools today that we as a group are addressing and will continue to address. Our work is not done and we will continue to Parent our children the way we see fit.

wiredmama222

I am sure that you WILL continue to parent your children the way that you see fit. More power to you in that respect.

But I think that it is most unfortunate that you feel "most of the comments in this section are made by uninformed people". Many of those who comment on here are parents as well as you and have made statements who also have "parented as they see fit" or have taught, and/or raised children who have turned out to be very nice, intelligent and wonderful assests in today's society.

No one has all the answers when raising a child, including those making the comments nor all of you who have the kids attending the classes at Danbury schools.

While I applaud your willingness to stand up and be counted for your beliefs, I hope that you will also accept the offerage of expressions as they were given by most of those on here.

I don't think they were meant to hurt or defame any of you parents in Danbury, but to suggest alternatives and additions to your thinking.

I, for one, wish you well in your endeavors with your children and the schools. May they grow up to be wonderful and productive people for the future of our society.

Having taught for ten years, I can only hope that when they get to the college level, their minds are ready to fly. It appears they will.

God Bless. Kate

Rod Farva

Maybe they register should give a little more background about the book. I read this in hs, very good book about the Vietnam war.

ColdAsIce

Is there a cliff notes on this somewhere? Who has time to read these days.

RemorselessEverMore

What's wrong with youtubing lesbian kissing movies? I just finished doing that :-P

Rod Farva

Thats hot

Trustafarian

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Profane, obscene, sexual or derogatory language.

Rod Farva

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Profane, obscene, sexual or derogatory language.

Trustafarian

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Profane, obscene, sexual or derogatory language.

Perkins2060

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Profane, obscene, sexual or derogatory language.

mhdgirl

The students did not have to say the swear words out loud.. And if this is all about bullying you may want to talk to your kid before you point fingers at someone else. The students will learn about history in every English class they have at that school, get over it already. Jesh!!!

Nor'easter

If as parents, you have not listened and then blocked the channel that carries Sponge Bob, you are in for a serious awakening. This so-called cartoon is atricious.

luvblues2

Freakin' Puritans, go find another country. This one does not and will not ever meet your standards.

titch

I'm sorry but you most of you are missing the point. We're not talking about going to see an "R" rated movie, (which does require an adult to be present for kids under age 17). We aren't talking about going to a library or a store to pick up this book. As a parent, you can decide what movies, books, and other media you choose to allow your child to see on your own time. You have the opportunity to use those things as teaching tools. Not every parent allows their child to watch Jersey Shore, or listen to really nasty music. Not every family allows strong language in the home. Apparently it's not ok with some of you for parents to try to raise morally sound individuals.

In this case, the teacher gave this book to his students, and they were reading the book for several weeks without parents being aware of it. The students were not permitted to bring the book home. One student did bring the book home though, and shared it with some adults. The parents then posted a page from the book on a social media site, and others copied it and shared it as well, sparking a firestorm. For those who argue, stating the realities of war shouldn't be "sugar coated, this is NOT a history class, it is a Language Arts class. "War" didn't even need to be the topic. There are millions of books to choose from that do not contain this type of material. The book was assigned without parental consent, and the students were required to read the book aloud in class. The "eff-bomb" (The Register's profanity filter will not let me describe the word any other way) is used throughout the book, along with racial slurs, sex, drugs, and extreme violence. The book has been in the top 10 of the American Library Association's top 100 controversial and banned books list for several years. It has been banned from High Schools. We are not saying 13 year olds should never be allowed to read this book. We are saying that in school, we trust that the material given to our students will be appropriate, and when it is not, we expect to receive a parental consent with less offensive options available. There are students of various maturity levels and backgrounds in the eighth grade. Some were mortified to have to read this material aloud. I tried to share a small portion of the content of this book below, but the Register's profanity filters would not allow it no matter how I tried.

Parents researched the way other schools handle this type of material. Most of the schools in the area don't have books like this on their reading lists. When there is any type of offensive material, most schools have a protocol that must be followed, including approval of the book by the school board, parental consent, and providing alternate material for those uncomfortable with the material provided. That is all parents at Danbury were asking for.

As a result of the meetings at Danbury, some positive changes have come about. The school will be changing the process for screening and assigning books and other media. Parents will be more involved in the selection process, and in other decision making at the school.

This was our goal as parents, and we are happy about the outcome at this point.

ladydye_5

Do you have a problem with Huck Finn? In that book they use the "N" word. Where do PARENTS draw the line on what is appropriate to teach. If that is the case there is sure to be a parent that does NOT approve of something everyday in different class. Kids would learn NOTHING. If you are so worried about your angel of a child and the horrible vile education the public school is teaching, send them to a private school. OR better yet home school. You get to make all the rules then. I really have a hard time believing that an 8th grader was so horrified at this book and traumatized reading it. I do NOT know an 8th grader alive that has not dropped the "eff" bomb. (I know of CATHOLIC SCHOOL kids that use the "eff" bomb).

My Opinion is...

If you have such an issue with the education your child is receiving - homeschooling is always a possibility. Then you can teach your child exactly how you see fit without any outside influences or opinions.

train coming

As small as Danbury is it would not take many students to leave before the would be an major problem. They only suit up 15 kids or less for high school football.When you open inrollment kids go so do there tax dollars.

titch

Home schooling isn't necessary when there are plenty of great schools in the area who have policies in place to prevent situations like this. I'm sure Danbury will be glad to have nice small classes next year when a bunch of kids transfer to different schools.

Pirate Mom

Untrue on many levels. Schools in the area do have this book and others like it on their reading lists. In what universe do History and English classes not cross curricular lines? Maybe you need to look into what is going on in your schools. It is encouraged and required by the state in many English content standards. I agree that the maturity of eighth graders, or lack thereof, makes some books more suited for older students. That is a judgment call for teachers and administrators with parent input. I am sure that you are happy at the outcome. You got Danbury on the front page for...negative reasons? Please work just as hard to showcase your schools in a positive light for the great things they are doing for your kids, in spite of your closed and controlling mind.

luvblues2

Watch this movie: The Village (2004)

And this one: The Wicker Man (2006)

Those might fit your little Paradise very well. Keep 'em locked up and shuttered in from the so evil world. They will escape your dreams.

The Big Dog's back

I think the lily whites have more of a problem with the racial aspect of the book.

KURTje

Uh-oh. This spring when Mr. Leon P. (Secretary of Defense) was at the Marine Corps Museum in Quantico, Va, he might of saw what was on the wall. Engraved in marble were the words of Sgt.Major Dan Daily: "Come on you sons-of-bitches, do you want to live forever?" (He lived to garner the Medal of Honor)

Mime Bloggling's picture
Mime Bloggling

TheMomX6, JTutt, and Titch.. thank you for taking a stand against the moral malaise that often times tries to disguise itself as "normal". Thank you for being a hands-on parent with your kids while the vast majority of parents permissively go along with the flow and don't fight back against the cultural rot or who are just too lazy to care. The fact that this teacher TOLD his students NOT to take the book in question home is a BIG red flag. Schools are responsible to the parent, to the taxpayer, not the other way around. It's good to know that some safeguards have now been put in place that will make a rogue teacher think twice before doing this again. JTutt...thank you for your service to our country and for your vigilance in protecting our school children.

titch

Thank you for your kind words. I respect the fact that people have their own opinions, but I honestly think some of these people sit and wait for stories to be published, so they can pounce with their evil comments. You are right, this teacher would not permit students to bring the book home. I believe the explanation had to do with the cost of the book, only so many books being available, etc. Funny though that students were able to bring other books home... I am proud of all the parents and citizens who stood up for what is right. It's hard to go against the grain, especially in a small community. They made themselves heard, and hopefully positive changes will be the result of this.

My Opinion is...

"I am proud of all the parents and citizens who stood up for what is right." Your definition of "right" does not make it a universal acceptance and will most definitely contradict other peoples' definition

Pirate Mom

My question to you is..."Did you ever sit down and talk rationally and reasonably with the teacher in question?" I think I already know the answer.

titch

Yes, the parents did sit down and talk to the teacher.

Red Baron

All the while they are indoctrinating kids with ipads to dumb them down. Here kids here is an app where you can make yourself fat or look you can make it look like the screen cracks.

train coming

I know many Vietnam Vets thay all agree this book is terrible and no kid in Jr High school should have to read it....to read it out loud in class is just crazy..... One Vet said "I fought that war so 13 year old girls would not have to read that GARBAGE in school".

Pirate Mom

That is NOT why Vietnam Vets fought that war.

Common Sense

For those who have read this book, we can tell you that the setting somewhat dictates the rough language. The author is a popular young adult writer and has won awards for his work.
One thing that should be mentioned to the young readers (and their parents) prior to the reading of this story is that this is a story of fiction, that the war setting brings out great frustration and fears, and that the language is not considered acceptable in day-to-day life.

titch

@ MHDGirl - YES, the kids DID have to read the swear words out loud. I know you Marblehead girls love to try to protect your little Marblehead "cult", but get the facts straight. Truthfully, I think this teacher gets his jollies making kids uncomfortable. None of the other teachers at Danbury make a habit of choosing highly controversial books like this teacher has.

mhdgirl

Actually I have the facts straight. They were allowed to just say f. Marblehead is a great place. If something was truly wrong with this I wouldn't say anything, but your making a big deal of nothing. All of you used this book as an excuse to complain about the teacher. Please do your self and everyone at Danbury a favor and transfer your kids to another school, then let us know how bad you had it.

train coming

THEY READ THE Fword OUT LOUD......I like the teacher....Dont like what he did....

train coming

THEY READ THE Fword OUT LOUD......I like the teacher....Dont like what he did....

titch

Many students were too intimidated by this teacher to ask not to read the specific words aloud. That is part of this issue.

titch

.

Pirate Mom

Please tell us the conversation you first had with the teacher.

Katelih-Trailer...

I can only hope that my son is "uncomfortable" saying slang or curse words in front of his teacher or ANY adult when he is a teenager.

DGMutley

Amen! I have no problem with the book but I have a big problem with making the kids read it aloud.

Danburymom

My main concern is censorship. Who decides what books stay and what books go? Mighty is the person who thinks they can dictate that responsibility. I am a teacher and a parent and I do not feel qualified to take on that job. Do I care about my children? Absolutely!! I was allowed to read everything and anything in junior high and high school. Letting my children have the same freedom fosters a love for reading and knowledge. I hear a lot profanity in and out of school and I dare say that reading Fallen Angels is probably not to blame.
The context of the story and the words that are associated to this story is not being considered. This is not a Cinderella story--this is a portrayal of the Vietnam War. Mark Twain was criticized for vulgarity in Huck Finn but he has preserved our history by doing so. I think we do a disservice to our kids by pretending our history is squeaky clean, pure, innocent. Our veterans can be proud to have served our country and know that Walter Dean Myers has captured and protected a moment that some of us would rather forget but others cannot and should not.
As for the English vs. History class, many schools use cross curricular strategies because it is researched based proven effective that students engage and are more successful in the classroom when their subjects can be connected. What are you going to do when the student gets to 11th grade and the curriculum is American literature? The curriculum surrounds our literary beginnings starting with Native American myths and the published works of a Puritan culture—both which are spiritual in nature. Are we to forget about our own heritage because they mention God? And don’t forget the Revolutionary War and Civil War….. much of our literary heritage is represented by these events.
Using Walter Dean Myers’s Fallen Angels in the classroom gives our kids the chance to discuss real issues in the world, develop their critical thinking skills, practice reading comprehension, and hone writing skills—all things required of the language arts teacher.
Lastly, in a situation where someone protests a certain book, they ultimately create a paradox —instead of getting rid of the book, everyone will be reading the book.

My Opinion is...

Well said!

BW1's picture
BW1

Bottom line, regardless of what anyone here thinks of the book, or what exposures are good for kids, neither you, I, nor the school officials are these kids' parents, and those parents have a right to raise their kids according to their values without the government seeking to circumvent them.

The Big Dog's back

Home school them then bw.

BW1's picture
BW1

OK, then stop charging for schooling.

Use of the public schools does not remove one's rights. Forcing students to say words out loud that make them uncomfortable is compelling speech, a First Amendment violation.

The Big Dog's back

So bw, where do my rights stop and yours begin?

BW1's picture
BW1

To what rights of yours are you referring? The right to interfere with other peoples' parenting? The right to force kids to use foul language? The right to force your views of literary excellence on other people? Don't be shy, say what you mean.

The Big Dog's back

My right to have my kids and grandkids know what America is really like.

BW1's picture
BW1

No one is even so much as suggesting denying you that right. You confuse your right with an obligation on the part of others to aid you in exercising it. Furthermore, there's no relationship between that right and compelling other peoples' kids to say things they don't want to say. Someone else could just as easily say that their right to raise their kid in their faith obligates your kid to pray aloud in school. We all know that's been ruled out.

You're welcome to tell your kids whatever you want, and I won't tell them otherwise. However, your right to teach your kids one point of view no more requires the rest of us to fund an institution to assist you than the 2nd Amendment obligates the taxpayers to buy someone a gun.

The Big Dog's back

I haven't seen many teenagers who have to be "forced" to use foul language. They blurt it out pretty good on their own. You of the right wing want to force your minority beliefs on the majority, but that'a OK right?

BW1's picture
BW1

Maybe you haven't; that doesn't mean they don't exist. In this case we have one who has clearly said he/she was so forced. How is his/her discomfort any different from the O'Hare kid's discomfort with being forced to pray?

"You of the right wing want to force your minority beliefs on the majority, but that'a OK right?"

You're pretty quick with the unfounded accusations. When have I ever advocated any such thing?

The Big Dog's back

Now!

BW1's picture
BW1

Apparently you have a reading comprehension problem since I haven't advocated any such thing. Care to try again with something more substantive than a monosyllabic naked assertion?

BW1's picture
BW1

Well, doggy?

titch

Thank you BW1

Pirate Mom

Schools are "in loco parentis" but are secondary to parents. Eighth grade is too young for this book; in addition, no teacher should EVER require kids of any age to read aloud the conversations in this book. Great but provocative book and the cursing is not gratuitous; however, no one should be required to read that language aloud.

titch

I agree Pirate Mom.

DGMutley

Ditto.

train coming

I am really surprised all the people that are for this Book..... its got tons of profanity, sexual content and racial slurs.I am would be surprised if there are more than 20% of children use this language all the time. My kids go to public school.. yea they here it once in awhile. But you folks act like every kid walks down the hall saying profanity all the time. I have a challenge for you.... Go casually ask a police officer to ---- off. I believe you will be arrested. Have your child tell the principal at there school to ---- off....See if after a couple of time your child would be suspened.You know why because it is wrong to talk like that.You send your child in a class room that is supposed to be a safe haven...Not a place to hear the f word read 100 time in a book out loud by a 13 yr old girls.How sick is that..... Where I work I dont here people talk like that either. You would get Wrote up and after a few time later bye bye....

titch

Well said train coming. It is sad but true that many see nothing wrong with this. Fortunately there are also many who oppose this who have not commented here. I think the kids should go down to the principal and let him know it was a "----ing" good book, and see what he says about that.

luvblues2

Language arts class and you can type such as you do and see no problem? I almost welcome your speech even though it is really bad in English and syntax and spellin'. Lighten up.

train coming

English major I am not......BUT I do teach young men and women.You see I get to teach them after they are broken.Broken by teachers that bully them or make them read R rated books in class.Then the school says its OK.In some schools there are kids shooting kids. People then ask the question....Where is God? Some people also want to turn to God then. The problem is goverment took GOD out of the public schools....In my class room we teach that you put God first. The book I teach from is the BIBLE. It teaches you can live in the world, BUT dont be of the world. It teaches there is evil in the world and you should stay away from it.....God gives these men and women 2nd changes in my class room.In my home I raise my childred the same way. My chidren know when they hear cuss words in the halls, that it is wrong.When my children hear cuss words read from a book at school, that it is wrong. Thats what God does to people. The young men and women I teach, are learning what is right and lifes are changing. My children all ready do and we are blessed. Thanks to God....

The Big Dog's back

train, you are confusing how you think things should be as to how they really are.

Kimo

It is just plain wrong to force any teen to say words that are not acceptable in general public conversation............
.

BW1's picture
BW1

Absolutely. Didn't we have some big court cases about kids being forced to say things in school, like pledges and prayers?

DGMutley

Ditto.

danbury dad

did the school send out alist of books the kids were to read? if they did then shame on the parents for not checking them out first. if they didn't then shame on the school for not supplying the parents info they need to make a responsible choice for their children

Kimo

In the real world if you find something that offends, you have the option of not participating. In this case options were not made available until after parents went to the school to investigate.
There is no excuse for forcing and or bullying a 13 year old girl or boy to read this kind of material.
IMO: You have a teacher on a power trip; "I think its ok, shut up and read".
.

DGMutley

Absolutely!

Truth or Dare

I grew up watching the Vietnam War unfold before our very eyes on the nightly news, talk about appalling, foul! We were worrying daily as to whether or not my older Brothers' # would get called up. Funny how our Govt. won't allow the "wages of War" to be watched on U.S. T.V. anymore.

I found the Vietnam War to be appalling, foul, moreso than any foul language anyone could read outloud. Why not let 13 yr. olds read about what a 17 yr. old was facing back in the 60's, fresh out of High School, unable to afford college and smart enough to know there were no good answers to be found "out on the streets". How many kids feel that way today, w/the Military being their avenue of last resort? After all, in just a few short years, your children may be toying with the same dilemma, and just like this young man, Basic Training can't and won't prepare you for all that you can be or will see! What would be nice, is if after the reading of this book, it was followed up w/a visit from a Veteran Marine from the Vietnam War. One willing to speak to the truths of War.

amcbeal

Sheltering children is terrible. I was never a sheltered child, and I feel like at least now I know how to conduct myself in public. My parents allowed me to hear this type of stuff, but also sat us down and explained to us why we shouldn't use the words. They taught us exactly what they meant and why they're "bad words". At 13-14, I had already heard any "bad word" you could've read in 1988. Stop sheltering your children and allow them to be a rounded individual by reading a book, because we all know the kids in this generation NEED to read. Maybe if you took a more active role in parenting (lol, I know, it's a joke anymore) then you wouldn't have to worry about it. Calm down, it's a book. If you allow your child to watch tv, play video games, or even just exist in the general public (assuming you all don't just lock them in their rooms after school to shelter them from bad words) they're going to learn it. Calm down, take a breath, and TEACH your children. It's not just up to the school. They don't teach you about real life. That's YOUR job as a PARENT.