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Issue in English class - Page 7

post #121 of 128
If you haven't read ths book, then it's difficult to understand how well it's written and how it handles the topic. I taught it to 14 year olds with permission slips to CYA, and I can tell you that my girls loved it and it was checked out of the library by others based on the original readers' recommendations. It's a good book.
post #122 of 128
Posting late to this thread - but after reading it earlier I checked the novel out from the library and read it. It was a very good read and I would definitely allow/encourage my teenaged children to read it. It was an interesting read for me too. I started late at night, read till late, then woke up early wanting to finish the novel.

The rape scene itself is described without being graphic - I think I don't think younger children would even realize what was being described. It is the emotional aftermath that is the focus of the story - the event itself takes up less than a single page.
post #123 of 128
I am not sure it is possible to truly study high school literature without some exposure to violence or sexual assault. Further, I don't think such lit condones it, it condemns it and empowers kids to work against the sadly large epidemic of sexual violence in the USA. I was raped at age 11. Many of the books I read helped me heal from it and speak out against it- in essence, helping me claim my voice back. The Color Purple and To Kill a Mockingbird for example.

Also, I would never withhold permission for my child to read something I myself had not read. Honestly I can't see not giving permission for just about any book. BUT if I was on the fence about something, I would read it myself before making up my mind.
post #124 of 128
wow wow wow! Mama, it miht be time to think about homeschooling. If you dont like your kids teacher...or the material that WILL be discussed in and OUT of class, its time to get your baby outta there and in an environment that makes you feel good and safe.
post #125 of 128
Hello! Another English teacher and sexual assault survivor here who is also 22 and definitely mature enough to teach about adult themes.

I think the book is so incredibly important to teach to high schoolers. Sexual assault is real at that age -- I was SA'd in 10th grade -- and I only wish we would have had discussions about dealing with SA and believing people who said that they were raped. That's a huge deal in the book -- the main character's friends don't believe her and she's completely isolated. Teenagers would rather believe that they don't know anybody who could possibly rape someone, than believe the victim.

My teaching philosophy is that students learn best from studying real world issues, and how to solve them, so they become better global citizens. This includes things like women's rights, racism, homelessness, poverty, bullying, gang violence, and yes, sexual assault. Because we do need to discuss these things. I don't feel like I'm teaching if I pick books that are all about puppies, or vapid brainless fiction. Books and literature MEAN something. And it's how you get students to care.

Something that also needs to be said is that many teens who read Speak, boys especially, ask why the main character is so upset about being raped, and why she doesn't just "get over it." They don't understand the gravity of the act. That is scary to me and proves to me the importance of addressing such a subject. Men and women need to understand how damaging rape is, and how not to victim blame.

To me, this is essential in stopping rape and victim blaming.
post #126 of 128
See, this is why I find it ridiculous to send home a parent permission slip for a book. You have never read the book, yet you decided your child should not read it. I'm sure that the intention was to excuse kids who have experienced sexual assault and might be retraumatized by reading the book. Instead, parents who freak out at the word "sex" pull their kids from an opportunity to take the perspective of a silent victim. Brilliant.

If I was your kid, wild horses would not keep me from that book now that you "forbid" it.
post #127 of 128
As another woman who was date raped at age 14 and who had SEVERAL friends go through the same thing (even younger)... I'd totally allow it and even encourage the reading of the book.

If I'm not sure of a book for my kids.... I read it myself first.
post #128 of 128
Originally Posted by mommyofmany View Post
My oldest (boy, age 14) brought home a permission slip for English class to read the book Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. The slip said that there was mention of sexual assault and rape in the book, so if we weren't comfortable with our child reading that, they could do an alternate project.

I've never heard of this book, and was shocked that it would be considered for an English project! I said no, my child would not read that book.

What do you think? Am I over-reacting as usual? Has anyone here read that book?

I wouldn't call it over reacting, I'd call it being a concerned parent, and normal. (at least for me)

Looking at the synopsis of the book listed here, I think I'd let my 13 yo read it, as well as read it myself. Sounds like it brings up some issues that could open up important discussions at home.
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