Matt Barber

Warning: Adult content.

Illinois School District 126, covering Alsip, Hazelgreen and Oak Lawn, has defended its choice to assign summer reading to 12- and 13-year-olds that is replete with harsh profanity and references to teen sex (even teen sex with adults).

Prairie Junior High School’s required reading list for rising 8th graders gave children six books to choose from over the summer. Parents have complained that three of the six books contain adult content which is highly age-inappropriate. Those complaints, however, have fallen on deaf ears. At a recent school board meeting, school board members said they intend to continue assigning the books. The following are excerpts from just a handful of the many salacious passages found in one of the books, Fat Kid Rules the World, by K. L. Going:

·God, I want to touch her. Her legs are full. … If I could just reach under that skirt. … (p. 6)

·No one beats me or f—s me without my permission. (p. 11)

·F—k off, morons. (p. 47)

·I swear I’ll tear your g—d*mn, f—ing b*lls off…(p. 57)

·“She’d f—k you if you stay in the band,” he says (p. 141)

·…and now he has promised me that a forty-something woman will sleep with me if I’m the drummer (p. 142)

Classy stuff, Prairie Junior High. Is that how you talk in front of your kids, Principal Gwaltney?

To add insult to injury, the school didn’t even have the courtesy to warn these kids — or their parents — about the adult content within the assigned reading. And parents are understandably furious. If one of my daughters came to me at twelve having been assigned this smut, I’d be ticked-off too.

Whatever happened to classics like Ivanhoe or Up From Slavery? Sure, some of them may even contain limited profanity and adult content, but there’s a big difference. The profane content in Fat Kid isn’t sporadic. It’s pervasive and gratuitous. The book has 110 pages containing the F-word and other profanities, and there are multiple crude sexual references.

With all the objectionable material children are subjected to on the internet, on television and in theatres, it’s outrageous that educators, who are charged with helping to mold the minds of these 12- and 13-year-olds, would willingly — if not eagerly — contribute to their moral degradation by pushing this kind of vulgarity on them. It amounts to educational malpractice, and School District 126 should have its mouth washed out with soap.

I telephoned Robert Berger, superintendent of schools for District 126, fully expecting him to assure me that this foolishness would be remedied. But instead, his response was defiant, defensive and arrogant.


Matt Barber

Matt Barber is founder and editor-in chief of BarbWire.com. He is an author, columnist, cultural analyst and an attorney concentrating in constitutional law. Having retired as an undefeated heavyweight professional boxer, Matt has taken his fight from the ring to the culture war. (Follow Matt on Twitter: @jmattbarber).

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