Teacher's Job in Jeopardy for Reading to Kids from Ender's Game

Illustration for article titled Teachers Job in Jeopardy for Reading to Kids from emEnders Game/em

A middle school teacher who read to his students from Ender's Game is on "administrative leave" because a parent complained to the school that Orson Scott Card's classic novel is "pornographic." The parent also went to the local police, who have not yet pressed criminal charges against the teacher, according to the Aiken, SC Standard.

Children's advocacy group Commonsensemedia.org has recommended Ender's Game for children aged 12 and up — and the child whose mother complained to the school and to the police was aged 14. But at the same time, the school has a policy requiring teachers to "preview" any supplemental material they present in class, so school officials can check for offensive ideas or themes, and the unnamed teacher did not do that in this case.

Ender's Game was one of three books that the teacher read to students, as part of the school district's literacy initiative. The school has since reviewed the three books and determined that two of them have inappropriate language (including swearing) and "in some instances, subject matter and terminology" that administrators consider inappropriate, says the Standard.


The school issued a press release stating that the student and his mother both considered Ender's Game to be "pornographic," and they complained to the school on Friday morning. The school had an administrative conference with the teacher on Friday afternoon, and the teacher was placed on leave. The police investigation into the teacher's conduct is described as "ongoing."

Update: According to a news report by local station WRDW, the police incident report in the case claims that the teacher read "pornographic material from the Internet to the students in class. One of the stories was about prostitutes having their faces covered with ejaculation." But according to the WRDW report, the school is still maintaining that the offending material was just three books that the teacher read to class, which were primarily offensive due to swear words. (Thanks to AJRimmer for pointing us to this.)

We've got calls out to the school, the police, and the school district. We'll post an update when we learn anything else.

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Nick Foote

If anything, this is the least pornographic case of nudity I've ever encountered. Ender is attacked while in the showers and beats the living shit out of Bonzo (the bully and instigator) while both are naked. Not only that, but it's in a book, which means no pictures. On top of that, it's not like Card described the kid's genitals he just said they were naked, other than to say they Ender kicked Bonzo in the balls.

It's hard to define porn, and as a judge once put it, "I'll know it when I see it". I do not see it in this case and, in this case I can actually prove it is not: Has anyone ever in the history of this book, ever masturbated (or even become aroused) while reading this scene? That's what I thought.

And swearing? Really? How many times does Huck Fin say the n word again? Oh that's right, it doesn't matter because it's a great book. Well, Ender's Game is too and it should be read, so fuck off you shitty administrators, and screw that mother who complained without actually looking at the material she was complaining about to see that it was not porn.

$100 says that the kid has already seen at least 10 R rated films that show worse than this book describes and another $50 says that this kid's mom knows he's seen worse.