Schofield Middle School teacher won't be charged in alleged 'pornographic' reading

Aiken County school district 'close to completing' investigation

Wednesday, March 21, 2012 10:19 AM
Last updated 5:17 PM
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Investigators have closed the case into the allegations of criminal activity stemming from a Schofield Middle School teacher reading books that one pupil and parent deemed “pornographic.”

According to a statement released Wednesday morning by the Aiken Department of Public Safety, investigators have concluded no criminal misconduct took place.

The teacher will not face any charges, Lt. David Turno said in a statement.

The Aiken County school district released a statement Wednesday afternoon saying the administration “is close to completing its investigation of this matter and should make a determination of any actions that need to be taken.”

Several news media outlets have reported that the book the teacher read in class was Ender’s Game, a science fiction novel by Orson Scott Card. The author’s Web site, www.hatrack.com, says this book and others in the series, Ender’s Shadow, and Speaker for the Dead, “are widely read by adults and younger readers, and are increasingly used in schools.”

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deadline
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deadline 03/21/12 - 09:40 am
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Awesome, great job ADPS!

Awesome, great job ADPS!

Little Lamb
47847
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Little Lamb 03/21/12 - 09:47 am
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The original complaint came

The original complaint came from a parent. We hear teachers, school administrators, and school board trustees tell us over and over and over again that it is going to take more parental involvement in the schools if we are ever going to get any improvement in school performance. Well, here is what you get when you ask for parental involvement.

Haki
31
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Haki 03/21/12 - 11:00 am
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Lamb, you're better than

Lamb, you're better than that. And we wonder why GA and SC schools rank so low.

InChristLove
22481
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InChristLove 03/21/12 - 11:27 am
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I have to agree with Little

I have to agree with Little Lamb to a point. Parents who do want to make a difference and become involved are sometimes ignored and nothing is done when complaints are made. Most stuff is swept under the rug or made light of so as not to rock the boat. If this teacher is truly innocent then I'm glad no charges were filed but from what I have read concerning this case, I still have questions. Guess I will have to read all three books and then make my decision.

InChristLove
22481
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InChristLove 03/21/12 - 11:37 am
3
7
"Two of three books that had

"Two of three books that had been selected and utilized by the teacher were determined to have materials (primarily swear words) and, in some instances, subject matter terminology that the school administration considers inappropriate for the middle school age,” the district’s statement says."

So it's okay to read books to middle age school children that contain swear words and even questionable terminology but as long as it's not straight out porn it's okay.

And we wonder why our school system is so degraded. If you don't expect higher standards, you'll never get them.

ForeverFrog
1
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ForeverFrog 03/21/12 - 11:39 am
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Deadline, what you said!

Deadline, what you said! Also hope this means that the Aiken County School Board will drop this garbage too!!!

museofsatie
586
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museofsatie 03/21/12 - 12:19 pm
5
2
So, I guess we should also go

So, I guess we should also go along with banning The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in schools, since it contains many instances of the use of pejorative terms. And To Kill A Mockingbird, since it also uses a fair amount of "profanity" and even more racial slurs. Oh, and All Quiet on the Western Front has been banned from many schools for being "too political"; guess we better leave that one out, too. The Diary of Anne Frank might be "too real", so we need to make sure it's not read, either.

From what I understand the main book that was the problem in this case is Ender's Game. There's nothing inappropriate in that book, and it's on many recommended reading lists in the country.

David Parker
7923
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David Parker 03/21/12 - 01:06 pm
2
1
ban "The Little Engine that

ban "The Little Engine that Could" for being to....persistent

Dixieman
16478
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Dixieman 03/21/12 - 01:16 pm
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Good. This was a foolish

Good. This was a foolish complaint to begin with.

InChristLove
22481
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InChristLove 03/21/12 - 01:28 pm
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At what school age do

At what school age do children normally read "The Adventures of Huckelberry Finn" and "To Kill a Mockingbird"? Is it not high school age, and I do believe there has been controversy concerning The Adventures of Huckelberry Finn. "To Kill a Mockingbird" is read by older high school students, not pre-teen middle school students.

The book that is in question is not “Ender’s Game”. (comments taken from WJBF online news report) Three books, two of them the Aiken County School Board said in a statement, were not appropriate for the middle school age. The book in question was “The Devil’s Paintbox,” written by Victoria McKernan, was an e-book possibly projected onto a classroom SmartBoard from the teacher’s personal Kindle.
This comment was made by another parent, “He told me they were talking about aliens and prostitutes and there were bad words like um, they talked about bruised testicles,” a parent told News Channel 6’s Kait Rayner. She didn’t wish to be identified to protect her son.

Statement made by a reviewer “My only reservation with this book was the references to prostitutes and their part in the book.”

So sad that some do not think referencing bruise testicles, prostitutes, and prositutes body parts are not inappropriate subjects for teachers to be discussing with 12 and 13 year olds.

SAPCS
35
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SAPCS 03/21/12 - 01:33 pm
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I am sure the kid heard worse

I am sure the kid heard worse on Xbox Live.

museofsatie
586
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museofsatie 03/21/12 - 02:24 pm
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"At what school age do

"At what school age do children normally read "The Adventures of Huckelberry Finn" and "To Kill a Mockingbird"?"

I read both in middle school. But my experience is obviously not going to be universal.

So, references to sexuality, bruised testicles (I didn't know that discussions of bruised testicles were taboo, but I'll go with it), and prostitution are over the line? The book also shows realistic views of the many hardships faced by pioneers and Native Americans, including children who have lost their parents, children who are having to eat dirt and bugs to not starve, the horrors of smallpox, alcoholism, and other things. But your issue is with the prostitution and talk of testicles. Interesting.

FormerAugustaResident
116
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FormerAugustaResident 03/21/12 - 03:40 pm
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As I said before...why are we

As I said before...why are we left to conjecture on what was said? Print it right here, right now. Is there some reason that a newspaper would find "objectionable" what is deemed acceptable to be read to middle school student?

Put it out in the sunshine for all to see....don't make everyone second guess by whispering about what was rumored to be said.

No matter your side in this issue...surely you can't object to seeing it in black and white in the paper? Right?

specsta
6709
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specsta 03/21/12 - 03:54 pm
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InChristLove wrote - "So sad

InChristLove wrote - "So sad that some do not think referencing bruise testicles, prostitutes, and prositutes body parts are not inappropriate subjects for teachers to be discussing with 12 and 13 year olds."

Then let's ban any reference to the Bible in school or in a public place such as a church when there are adolescents and children present. After all, the Bible contains references to prostitutes, adulterers, homosexuals, killing babies to destroy an entire generation, torture methods such as crucifixion and stoning, and a myriad of other topics not suitable for children.

Then again, how about keeping our society free and open and devoid of censorship? Just because someone is offended by a book doesn't make it unsuitable to read. I would simply suggest that the offended person not read it. It's quite simple.

museofsatie
586
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museofsatie 03/21/12 - 05:09 pm
2
1
According to someone whose

According to someone whose kids go to the school, the three books were "Ender's Game, Curtain: Poirots last Case and The Devil's Paintbox". I'd love to know what in an Agatha Christie book could be passed off as pornographic.

burninater
9763
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burninater 03/21/12 - 06:42 pm
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0
"Bruised testicles"? Oh my.

"Bruised testicles"? Oh my. 13 year olds shouldn't even be ALLOWED to know that boys have testicles, let alone that they bruise easily.

Magpie
77
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Magpie 03/21/12 - 09:11 pm
1
1
I read "The Adventures of

I read "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" and "To Kill a Mockingbird" in middle school. There's quite enough talk of prostitutes and aliens in the Bible, but they don't allow that to be taught in school either.

InChristLove
22481
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InChristLove 03/21/12 - 09:21 pm
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museofsatie, evidently you

museofsatie, evidently you didn't read my comment or reference any of the other articles written on this issue. Agatha Christie's book was not the book in questioned concerning pornography, but you would have know that if you had taken the time to investigate.

burninater, your sarcasm is predictable. It is not a issue that 13 year old boys know they have testicles and that they bruise easily....I'm sure most are aware of that by that age.....it is the context of the story in which these things were discussed. Personally, I'd rather my child learn about sexual issues from us his parents that through some sleezy novel. But then that's just my opinion.

specsta, don't you know, the Bible isn't taught or spoken about in school so no need for you to worry, and it seems you haven't attended many church services lately because so much is glossed over in the Word of God to pacify those who are offended and want to live life their way. You would fit in nicely, don't you think.

itsanotherday1
46670
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itsanotherday1 03/21/12 - 10:41 pm
3
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I promise you, even in the

I promise you, even in the puritan South, when I was 13 everyone knew about bruised testicles at the age of thirteen..... Blue ones too.

I still support parental input, in this case this parent would have been in the fringe.

avidreader
3442
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avidreader 03/22/12 - 05:09 am
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I have nothing to say today.

I have nothing to say today. Posted below is my commentary from March 15.

"Swear words" and "subject matter terminology" constitute PORN? Give me a break. What the teacher did may have been outside the bounds of appropriate, but PORN? Give me a break. I'm betting that the material does not even compare with mythology studies -- Old Zeus is quite the cad. It wasn't many years ago when some parents were steamed about To Kill a Mockingbird -- rape, incest, the dehumanization of the Negro community in 1930's Alabama. And the "N" word. And I won't even venture into the responses teachers have dealt with concerning Huck Finn, Catcher in the Rye, and Like Water for Chocolate.

Let's not label this teacher a PORN freak until after all the smoke has cleared. It's an overwhelming tag for a person to deal with.

There was an incident once where I crushed my thumb while moving a book case, and the "F" word slipped out of my mouth. My students were quite amused, but I was truly worried about any repercussions. This may sound silly, but I have witnessed many teachers who were reprimanded for lesser evils. Many times, children go home and tell their parents inflated stories about the goings-on in classrooms. Many parents tend to explode and immediately start calling the BOE instead of simply speaking with the teacher. Once again, there actually may be a big problem with the teacher in question at Schofield, but let's not judge too quickly.

InChristLove
22481
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InChristLove 03/22/12 - 05:32 am
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"but let's not judge too

"but let's not judge too quickly." Although this teacher was cleared of any pornography accusations the question whether the material was preapproved and appropriate reading for students in middle school still remains. According to the school district's own statement, the administrator stated these books were not appropriate reading material.

'Many times, children go home and tell their parents inflated stories about the goings-on in classrooms"

Yes and sometimes they go home and openly and honestly discuss their day and concerns with their parents.

scgator
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scgator 03/22/12 - 05:54 am
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THE ENDING COMMENTS FROM

THE ENDING COMMENTS FROM INKWEAVER.COM ON "THE DEVIL'S PAINTBOX"...............All in all, I did not think that “Devil’s Paintbox” by Victoria McKernan was a very good book. The plot was disappointing, the characters extremely rough, and the morals slightly twisted. I wouldn’t recommend “Devil’s Paintbox.”

Yet, our Aiken County officials "believe' there is nothing wrong with "twisted morals" ???? The issue here is not censorship, it is protection of moral fiber in our young people......Freedom of Speech was never meant to mean freedom from responsibility.............If it were me, I would WELL remember this decision @ election time for school board members. AND LET THEM KNOW YOU DID NOT "SWEEP THEIR DECISION UNDER THE RUG".........

ForeverFrog
1
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ForeverFrog 03/22/12 - 06:35 am
3
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Wow! Some of the comments

Wow! Some of the comments posted by people who constantly profess their xian faith sure sound condescending and sarcastic. Are those traits Jesus would endorse???

scgator
1042
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scgator 03/22/12 - 06:50 am
2
3
Wow! Some of the comments

Wow! Some of the comments posted by people who constantly profess their xian faith sure sound condescending and sarcastic. Are those traits Jesus would endorse???

Liberals ALWAYS "slam" Christianity FIRST..................

belle
309
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belle 03/22/12 - 07:47 am
0
0
When my youngest was in 5th
Unpublished

When my youngest was in 5th grade, her teacher encouraged her to read Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry. This book is full of racism, racial slurs, violence, hate crimes, etc. I was concerned so I read it with her and we discussed the content, mostly with me listening while she expressed her thoughts on the book. I am eternally grateful to her teacher for that suggestion. It was a very meaningful learning experience for us both. Now, the kids reading the e-book in class did not have that option but they are in the 8th grade! According to a popular rating sight, it is suggested reading for those 12 yrs old and above. Also, parents if you think your 8th grader isn't fully versed on sex, drugs, prostitutes and the human anatomy and all it can do, you are sadly mistaken. Most children have sex and try drugs for the first time in Middle School. Keep the dialogue going! Let them tell you things without judging. Guide them gently with your beliefs but allow them to form their own. Set standards in your home and they will not stray far from that in the outside world.

deadline
0
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deadline 03/22/12 - 07:59 am
3
2
It seems like some people on

It seems like some people on this comment thread have never traveled or lived in large city.

InChristLove
22481
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InChristLove 03/22/12 - 08:28 am
1
3
If my comments sounded

If my comments sounded condescending and sarcastic to you ForeverFrog, my apologies for hurting your feelings. It is a difficult world we live in and as it has been said before, Christians are not perfect people. Everything I said was the truth, sometimes the truth hurts. Next time I'll try to say it nicer.

randytoad
0
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randytoad 03/22/12 - 09:14 am
1
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Just like to point out that

Just like to point out that Orson Scott Card is a devout Mormon.

ForeverFrog
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ForeverFrog 03/22/12 - 10:07 am
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ICL, I didn't single you out

ICL, I didn't single you out and you didn't hurt my feelings. :)

InChristLove
22481
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InChristLove 03/22/12 - 11:43 am
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My mistake ForeverFrog, but

My mistake ForeverFrog, but by reading most of the previous comments before you posted your comment, most saw no issue with the context of these books or the discussion of them amoung pre-teen student, so it now makes me curious. If you weren't singling me out, which other commenter were you referring to. Sure doesn't appear to be scgater. Nothing in his/her comment could be viewed as condescending or sarcastic.

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