Lately, at Aquin, teachers who assign inappropriate literature have become a problem that many would like to change. The majority of students don’t want to be forced to read books that make them uncomfortable, or don’t want to read them in a catholic high school classroom. Although the author has the right to write whatever he feels and the teachers have the right to think some books should be read for the student’s enrichment, I also believe that students should be warned and have their opinions taken into account.
This is an example of a book that the juniors were made to pay for and read in one of their classes at Aquin Catholic high school:
“Balls, when I thought like you, Alvah, I was just as miserable and graspy as you are now. All you want to do is run out there and get laid and get beat up and get screwed up and get old and sick and banged around by samsara, you f****** eternal meat of comeback you you’ll deserve it too, I’ll say”
“That’s not nice. Everybody’s tearful and trying to live with what they got. Your Buddhism has made you mean Ray and makes you even afraid to take your clothes off for a simple healthy orgy.”
The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac
This book and others like it have been taught in classrooms at our school and both students and their parents are beginning to get sick of being ambushed with disturbing literature that seem to have no educational point. If there is something particular in these works that the teachers want to show, isn’t there an option with better taste?
In America, there is something in the Constitution that Americans are proud of, and that is the freedom of speech. This includes making literature what you would like it to be, even if it is offensive or has no point but to be crude. This right doesn’t cover what we should be taught morally in a school focused on both academic and spiritual teachings. Several teachers tend to take it farther than most student and parents comfort zone.
There are other ways to teach students about a particular thing that forcing them to read something beyond their comfort zone and offensive to their beliefs. It’s sad that teachers at a Catholic school feel they should defend literature they assign when it is as crude or worse as the excerpt above. This isn’t about teaching inappropriate things to students, it’s about teaching inappropriate things to students in a Catholic school.