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#61 of 128 Old 05-14-2008, 07:16 PM
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Ya' got a permission slip. Your child doesn't have to be exposed to that book if you don't want him to be. You have a choice. He reads it, or doesn't. What, exactly, is the problem??

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#62 of 128 Old 05-14-2008, 07:26 PM
 
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The books I read for English class in middle school and high school were largely heavy and dealt with intense topics. Unless school has changed drastically, I think you are in for a long road if you object to heavy material.

FWIW - I do not think all the heavy material I was exposed to in high school was positive. I was on occasion left without closure after reading heavy stuff - not good.

I think, for the love of reading, a few lighter novels could have been thrown in. The fact that I was not turned off reading by my high school English is truly amazing - and probably thanks to my mother who kept a good supply of popular fiction around.

Good luck with all this. What does your DS have to say?
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#63 of 128 Old 05-14-2008, 07:34 PM
 
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I attended a high school in the same district in which I worked. Honestly, the things that I noticed that were different (and just so you know 10 years had passed from my graduation to my returning as an employee) were mainly behavioral differences and it's kinda hard to put into words.
Okay, I get it a little, and you did a pretty good job of putting it into words. I went back and taught at my high school as well, and I guess some things had changed in terms of attitude. I mean we already had kids majorly disrespecting teachers, hard drugs, pregnancy, std's, and everything else (and btw some of the worst stuff went on in our honors classes), but I did notice one thing changed, now that you mention it. Girls had gotten way more aggressive with each other. Starting fist fights in class (honors class again!), name calling, one even stabbed another almost to death--all over boys. I mean obviously over deeper issues, but... Yeah, so that was different to me.
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#64 of 128 Old 05-14-2008, 09:38 PM
 
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I would be completely okay with my child reading that book, in fact, I'd probably want to read it too! As someone who was raped (and got pregnant from it at 14...my freshman year of high school) I KNOW the pain that comes from that experience, and I think anything that allows it to be talked about and get information out there is wonderful. Granted, I strongly feel there has to be a level of maturity, and I would not introduce this book or topic any earlier. I just know how horrible I felt walking the halls pregnant and being called a whore, slut, skank, etc.... when I was a virgin before it happened. I think if my peers had read the book, maybe there would have been some understanding.... I know this isn't an everyday situation, but it is definitely something that needs to be brought up and talked about.
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#65 of 128 Old 05-14-2008, 11:21 PM
 
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I'm still not allowing my son to read it. That's that. I'm not posting or reading anymore posts to this thread. I was looking for support, but instead got attacked and put down.

I have changed my views about MDC as well. Maybe it isn't the place for me.
You know you can't really stop him right? I mean the moment he realises it's taboo he's going to borrow it from a friend and read it. Seriously...if my mother had forbidden me to read a book at 14 I would be all over that...he could just go to the public library even...
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#66 of 128 Old 05-14-2008, 11:26 PM
 
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My question would be this - do you think it would be bad for your kid to read this book, and why? Because you think he is unaware that rape happens? Because you think it would be bad for him to know it happens? What exactly do you think would be the harm to your child from reading this book? Are you afraid that he would ask you questions you would find difficult to answer?

I just don't understand what it is you fear from this book.
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#67 of 128 Old 05-15-2008, 12:25 AM
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See, I think this sort of topic is going to get discussed in high school, just among teens who pass along some (or a lot) of ignorance with what they say... whereas Speak is literature that wouldd help students gain a better understanding of the ramifications of this sort of topic, as they read and as they discuss the book. I figure it's better to start discussing it in the open rather than letting a bunch of teens suss it all out on their own.

I would recomend reading any book you're thinking of banning for your kid. Speak would take you a couple hours at the most. It is an amazing, amazing book. All my students loved it, argued over who got to check it out from the classroom library next.

Freaky Grean Eyes by Joyce Carol Oates is another similar book where the protagonist fights off a rape so that's different, tho other main plot points are even darker. Just if anyone's looking for more books for young adults who liked Speak.
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#68 of 128 Old 05-15-2008, 08:43 AM
 
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You know you can't really stop him right?
For me this is what parenting older kids is all about. We can't force them. All we have is the strength of our relationship and the kids' common sense. I know adolescents who's parents control, structure and dote over every aspect of their lives. I shudder to think of the rebellion to come.
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#69 of 128 Old 05-15-2008, 09:17 AM
 
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I happen to know Laurie (the author of Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson) and she's a lovely person. I think the book is very thoughtful and - as other's have suggested - an excellent springboard for discussion.

To the OP (I hope you do come back and read the rest of the comments), I wish you would have read it on your own, just to get a better idea, before you made your decision (I find that I can read most of my teenage stepson's required books in one evening. I just skim them quickly so I can help him if he has questions).

Also, I'm curious, if a parent chooses for their child to do the alternate project, how is that done? Do they go to the library and work alone while the book is being discussed in class?
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#70 of 128 Old 05-15-2008, 10:16 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mommyofmany View Post
The teacher is 22 years old, fresh out of college. I don't think SHE'S mature enough to teach material like that.




So, how detailed is the sexual assault/rape?

Wow, "fresh out of school at 22 and not able to handle discussing rape and its aftermath"...I just totally don't see it. Then again, I've always been an old soul and wise and mature beyond my years.

FWIW, I think it is an incredibly valid subject matter that is essential to discuss, in active dialogue, with our youth. What better segway for some honest, open communication.

You could always pick up a copy and read it for yourself to see if it's something you feel you must censor. Me, I'd use it as an educational opportunity.
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#71 of 128 Old 05-15-2008, 10:22 AM
 
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I just had to stop here and pull my jaw off the keyboard.

Are you naive? Do you really think that sexual assault and rape don't happen to 14 year olds?

I keep having to stop, and rewrite because what I want to say violates the U/A.

I'll say this: it is YOUR attitude, and the attitude of many people like you, which is the reason that so many young girls (and BOYS) are sexually assaulted and don't report it.

Please consider changing your tune. It is damaging...to EVERYONE...and helpful...to NO ONE.
I couldn't agree more. To make it a dirty, shameful, "don't talk about it and it won't happen" topic is a huge disservice to our youth.

Not talking about rape...in highschool?! That just boggles my mind.

I work, well volunteer, in an elementary school and last year there were several incidents of hugely inappropriate sexual behavior going on in the bathrooms...and these were THIRD GRADERS.

Times are not like they were when we were young. Pushing subject matter like this under the rug, in my opinion, is atrocious.
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#72 of 128 Old 05-15-2008, 10:22 AM
 
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I was sort of put off by the whole "she's only 22 and can't handle it" thing too. I'm 20, a rape crisis counselor, I've worked at women's shelters in three states and five counties, I've presented to teens and preteens, and done countless fund raisers and such. People mature at different ages - If I could handle what I do now when I was 18, I see no reason why I couldn't at 22.
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#73 of 128 Old 05-15-2008, 10:28 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mommyofmany View Post
I'm still not allowing my son to read it. That's that. I'm not posting or reading anymore posts to this thread. I was looking for support, but instead got attacked and put down.

I have changed my views about MDC as well. Maybe it isn't the place for me.
I'm a new poster, but years long lurker...I do think you need to have a little thicker skin if you want to engage in conversation about topics that are bound to stir emotions for people.

Not everyone is going to agree with your views and opinions...in fact, most won't. And this, well this is the world of the internet message boards where, if you put something out there, you have to be able to handle what comes back at you.

I don't think you should be offended or walk away. There are some very thoughtful perspectives that, should you take the emotion out of your visceral response and take a moment to cognitively process some of the opinions, you may learn a new way of looking at something that you wouldn't have thought of before.
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#74 of 128 Old 05-16-2008, 07:57 AM
 
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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.
The slip "mentions" sexual assault and rape in a book to be read by 14 yr olds? There are better ways to approach children on the topic of sex or rape. It doesn't have to be done through reading a book with a whole class. I'm thinking of it moreso from the standpoint of being an embarrassing topic to cover.

Not only would my child not be reading it but I'd be raising a stink at the school and I'd also be getting other parents involved.

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#75 of 128 Old 05-16-2008, 08:04 AM
 
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I'd love to agree with this statement, but as a high school teacher I can tell you that graphic conversations about sexual content are taking place. You can prevent your kid from possibly maturely discussing the consequences of sexual violence in a moderated setting, but you can't do much about what he is hearing in the halls.
This thread isn't about what is being talked about in the halls, it's about a book being pushed on 14 yr olds. If a parents doesn't agree then that's their choice.

I do think the parent should make sure the child is getting the information elsewhere but that's JMHO. Just because I'm against my child being forced to sit in a classroom of his peers (males and females) and listen to a book being read that has rape or sex in the context doesn't mean I wouldn't talk to him outside the classroom on my own or that I wouldn't condone the same book being read to him within an all male group through his class. I think there are more tactful ways to do it. If they wanted to discuss situations in health class regarding sex or rape then I'd probably be okay with that (maybe) as long as it's done in the right manner. However, I think the genders should be separated. That way if anyone has a question they aren't embarrassed to ask in front of the opposite sex, things like that.

I think sex is too "loosely" discussed in society today and then parents turn around and gripe about their young teens maturing too fast. That's very contradictive. Actually, if more parents would start talking to their "own" children about sex beginning at a very young age then such books wouldn't have to be read in a classroom. But I understand a lot of parents are embarrassed to do so and would rather the schools (or their peers) do it for them.

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#76 of 128 Old 05-16-2008, 09:55 AM
 
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I also think your DS voice needs to heard on this book - as well as other books to come.

As stated earlier, I read a bunch of very heavy book in English - I would have loved it if my mother had "just said no". I think being forced to read a book you are not ready for or really do not want to is an abuse of power.

I am not opposed to this book being read in a class per se, but it should be voluntary, and should be thoughtfully discussed - preferably by the parents as well as the school.

Kathy
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#77 of 128 Old 05-16-2008, 12:09 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mommy68 View Post
The slip "mentions" sexual assault and rape in a book to be read by 14 yr olds? There are better ways to approach children on the topic of sex or rape. It doesn't have to be done through reading a book with a whole class. I'm thinking of it moreso from the standpoint of being an embarrassing topic to cover.

Not only would my child not be reading it but I'd be raising a stink at the school and I'd also be getting other parents involved.
I think you're out of touch with literature.

Julie of the Wolves *mentions* sexual assault and it's normally read by 4th graders here.

If you eliminate all literature with any mention of sexual assault and rape you eliminate TONS of classics and important literature.

-Angela
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#78 of 128 Old 05-16-2008, 12:18 PM
 
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I wonder how history and current events classes deal with this. I don't imagine they send home a permission slip to see if the students are allowed to learn about Columbus, or Boudicca, or WWII, or prominent news stories about rapes, do they?
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#79 of 128 Old 05-16-2008, 12:34 PM
 
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If the OP is still listening.....it's probably a valid assumption that the "cat is out of the bag", so to speak. Your child will know that his classmates are reading something he isn't allowed to, and I'm betting that will pique his interest. Perhaps he will read on his own without benefit of class/peer/teacher moderated input?

I am wondering how you would explain to your son your refusal to allow him to participate in this class activity. Not smarky, just wondering? Will you explain your objections to the content of the book? If so, you may end up having a discussion at home about the content you're not comfortable with.

Would you consider reading the book first and then sort of "parallel" reading along with the class. That way you might be able to share the experience with your son, instead of potentially shutting him out.

FWIW, we were a family that sheltered our kids (younger child and older school age) from a lot that we thought was harmful. Well, you can really only go so far with that because we do live in the real world. At some point your ideal has to meet up with the reality of the world we live in. JMHO.
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#80 of 128 Old 05-16-2008, 12:36 PM
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When I was in Junior High, we read "The Scarlet Letter". That has some pretty "adult" themes in it. We also read "The Great Gatsby", which IIRC, included themes such as bootlegging, adultery, murder, and abortion(?). Hemingway's "Hills Like White Elephants" is about abortion for sure (as well as probably statutory rape).

When I was 12 or 13, I read the entire "Flowers in the Attic" series - checked it out at the public library and read them. Those have rape, incest, and murder, and I don't want to have sex with my sisters because of it.

However, you know your child, and if you feel he's not mature enough for this book, have him do the alternate activity. But if I were in your place, I would read the book BEFORE making the decision.
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#81 of 128 Old 05-16-2008, 12:45 PM
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I hope change your mind and return. Honestly, I do believe that you are overreacting. High school is not a PG environment anymore.
Elementary school is not PG any more. In 1989, when I went to a K-8 school in south Phoenix, we had THREE pregnant girls in my grade. I wasn't in 8th grade, or even 7th grade. We had THREE pregnant 12 year olds in the 6th grade.
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#82 of 128 Old 05-16-2008, 12:52 PM
 
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So, how detailed is the sexual assault/rape?
I have not read the whole thread, but as an English teacher and parent myself, my biggest issue is not your choice to not let him read it, but rather the fact that you are not making a fully informed decision. If you are that concerned YOU should read the book first and then decide if it is acceptable for your child.
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#83 of 128 Old 05-16-2008, 12:58 PM
 
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I realize this is my personal experience, but I was in 9th grade the first time a friend was raped (incidentally by an older, popular guy). She did speak up and no one believed her, and she was shunned by everyone, including the parents. I had a couple friends confide similar events to me later, but no one ever spoke up again.

I truly believe these issues are discussed in many schools at this age, outside of the classroom setting.

I was in the 9th grade when I was date raped The guy who did it bragged to the whole school about popping my cherry and I got labeled a slut. No one believed me, or they all thought I asked for it, because I had lied to my parents about where I was and went to his house with two other couples when I knew his parents were not home. Yes, appropriate/relevent material for 9th grade
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#84 of 128 Old 05-16-2008, 01:00 PM
 
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I don't know this particular book, but if it was handled well, I would have no problem. In fact, I think it is *important* for these things to be discussed. I don't think grade 9 is too young at all. We read To Kill a Mockingbird and that had a lot of deep issues we discussed.

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#85 of 128 Old 05-16-2008, 01:03 PM
 
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This isn't fair. No, it isn't her attitude that causes young girls and boys to not report sexual assault. Sexual assault is very complicated and reporting it is very hard. My mother didn't censor anything I read and my mother didn't care what I did at school and I didn't report sexual assault when I was in high school.

Attacking her and blaming her for terrible things isn't going to help the situation.
It is not the only reason, but it is one reason. Contributing to the air of secrecy, taboo, and shame around sexual assault is a huge problem in perpetuating more assaults and victimizing the victim again.

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#86 of 128 Old 05-16-2008, 01:18 PM
 
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I think it'a wrong to discuss sexual asault and rape in a 9th grade classroom. That's my problem with it. I'm obviously not as free of a thinker as most here, and I believe such things shouldn't be discussed in school.
why? i don't understand this at all, sorry. it's a part of life. how exactly would it be avoided for 6-7 hours per day? you do realize that some of the girls who read this book will likely have had or will later have this happen to them, right? which is a whole lot worse than talking about it :

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#87 of 128 Old 05-16-2008, 02:02 PM
 
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This thread isn't about what is being talked about in the halls, it's about a book being pushed on 14 yr olds. If a parents doesn't agree then that's their choice.

I do think the parent should make sure the child is getting the information elsewhere but that's JMHO. Just because I'm against my child being forced to sit in a classroom of his peers (males and females) and listen to a book being read that has rape or sex in the context doesn't mean I wouldn't talk to him outside the classroom on my own or that I wouldn't condone the same book being read to him within an all male group through his class. I think there are more tactful ways to do it. If they wanted to discuss situations in health class regarding sex or rape then I'd probably be okay with that (maybe) as long as it's done in the right manner. However, I think the genders should be separated. That way if anyone has a question they aren't embarrassed to ask in front of the opposite sex, things like that.

I think sex is too "loosely" discussed in society today and then parents turn around and gripe about their young teens maturing too fast. That's very contradictive. Actually, if more parents would start talking to their "own" children about sex beginning at a very young age then such books wouldn't have to be read in a classroom. But I understand a lot of parents are embarrassed to do so and would rather the schools (or their peers) do it for them.
IS there a "tactful" way to discuss rape? I have, thankfully, not been in that situation OR known anyone who has. But both of my kids - boy AND girl - have been taught from early on that NO means NO! My son would try to wrestle with his little sister, and when she said STOP, darned straight he was taught that meant STOP. Whether they were 5, 10, 15 or whatever age.

If 14 is too young to discuss rape, when is it appropriate? I'm honestly gobsmacked. OP... you son already knows about rape - I can guarantee it. What he needs now is some serious and honest discussion about it. If you're not comfortable with it happening in school, so be it. At least talk to him at home.

Me? I'm likely going to go out and buy the book for all three of us to read.
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#88 of 128 Old 05-17-2008, 03:44 AM
 
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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 have to ask, if he was a girl do you think that your response would be the same? Ignoring the issue and existence of rape is one of the privileges of being born male, and I'm glad that there are some men who are prepared to go beyond she's lying/ she asked for it.

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#89 of 128 Old 05-17-2008, 06:27 AM
 
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i'm kind of suprised at the response on this thread.

i have opted my child out of a few things at school b/c either i wanted to handle that kind of thing myself or b/c i felt it was innapropriate subject matter for my child.

it does seem like this is more about the op's comfort level than her son's comfort level though.

i haven't read that book but i can see opting out if i felt my child couldn't handle it, didn't feel the teacher could handle it

it would have been nice if this could have been one of several options for each child though. i guess thats a fantasy land though.........

when i was in hs we didn't really read current fiction as a class project that was reserved for extra credit........

it's the kind of topic that really has to be handled properly. i don't know what the best way to handle the topic of rape is at 14 yrs old but i don't know that english class is the best place for it.

that said i wouldn't keep my kiddo from reading anything they wanted to read but this is not a choice her son is making, this sis something that is being assigned.

what would the alternate assignment be? maybe a different book by the same author?
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#90 of 128 Old 05-17-2008, 07:15 AM
 
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What would you like to see your son reading?

What was his reaction to having to opt out?



Quote:
Originally Posted by mommyofmany View Post
I think it'a wrong to discuss sexual asault and rape in a 9th grade classroom. That's my problem with it. I'm obviously not as free of a thinker as most here, and I believe such things shouldn't be discussed in school.
When and where then?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mommyofmany View Post
I'm still not allowing my son to read it. That's that. I'm not posting or reading anymore posts to this thread. I was looking for support, but instead got attacked and put down.

I have changed my views about MDC as well. Maybe it isn't the place for me.
Hmmm....
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