Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Worst school policy nominee: Pulling dictionaries because of sexual definitions

The Menifee Union School District pulled and then replaced the Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary in its 4th and 5th grade classrooms because a parent said the definition of oral sex was too explicit. The definition was "oral stimulation of the genitals : cunnilingus, fellatio."
"The dictionaries have not been banned," said Betti Cadmus, a spokeswoman for the Menifee Union School District in conservative southwest Riverside County on Monday. "There was a growing concern by parents that some of the words were not age-appropriate."
A panel of parents, teachers and administrators (met) to comb the dictionary for potentially graphic words or definitions ...
"The dictionary will go back to the classroom but the parents will be given the option to determine if they want their kids to have access to that dictionary," said Betti Cadmus, a spokeswoman for the Menifee Union School District in southwest Riverside County. Students will take permission slips home and parents who don't want them to use Webster's 10th Collegiate Edition can opt for alternative dictionaries.
God, people get upset about trivial crap. I fondly remember scouring the dictionary for dirty words in elementary school. My parents wouldn't tell me anything, and what was the 99th percentile in reading ability good for if not finding out what dirty words really meant? I'd say in general that when a kid becomes curious about a word, that's the time to explain it's meaning. If she's too young, to understand, she won't. On the scale of things that can traumatize or badly influence a child, reading in a dictionary that oral sex is oral stimulation of the genitals is way down on the harmless end.

And what was that parent doing looking up "oral sex" in the dictionary anyway? Doesn't he already know what it is? If not, a Google search would explain it with a lot more flair than "oral stimulation of the genitals" and show pictures, too.

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