Thursday, October 18, 2007

Texas Teacher Could Face Criminal Charges

What?!?!

A Texas teacher could face criminal charges for handing a book to a student that her parents deemed inappropriate for a 9th grader.

The book, Cormic McCarthy's CHILD OF GOD, is described this way on amazon.com . . . "In this taut, chilling novel, Lester Ballard--a violent, dispossessed man falsely accused of rape--haunts the hill country of East Tennessee when he is released from jail. While telling his story, Cormac McCarthy depicts the most sordid aspects of life with dignity, humor, and characteristic lyrical brilliance."

Texas Penal Code 43.24 prohibits selling, distributing or displaying harmful material to a minor. Since it is alleged that the teacher placed the "harmful material" in the hands of a student, he may be subject to a Class A misdemeanor, which under Texas law is punishable by up to one year in county jail and/or a fine up to $4,000.

What is happening? Can this be for real? It was not required reading, yet the teacher could get jail time?

What do you think about this?

For the complete story, as reported by the Abilene Online ReporterNews, click here.

Oh, and ever since the hoopla, the book has been sold out in stores all over town.

12 Comments:

Blogger Angel said...

I think stupid people shouldn't breed.

My thoughts and condolences go out to the teacher. This is just SO wrong.

I'm glad the book is getting publicity though. As a parent, seeing my children read is a great joy. I can't imagine objecting to a book that my daughter's teacher recommended.

6:29 PM  
Anonymous Sam said...

As a bookseller, one of my favorite things is reading an article about a book being banned and then seeing the flood of people who come into the store requesting it.

I'm outraged that a teacher with good intentions could actually face jail time for recommending a book (who decides what "harmful content" is, anyways?), but the best thing that can come out of the situation is that more people are prompted to read the controversial book.

6:56 PM  
Blogger Lisa Yee said...

Sam, I wonder if booksellers would be subject to the same scrutiny if they sold that book to a ninth grader?

Scary to even think about it.

10:44 PM  
Blogger SafeLibraries.org said...

Sure sounds odd. I have not read the book so I take no position on it or this specific case here.

But, assuming for the sake of argument that the book actually violates the Texas law, what happens to the teacher? Does the law exempt certain professions including teachers? If not, does the teacher get special dispensation from the law just because he is a teacher, or because the American Library Association gave the book an award, or the like?

Interesting questions, no? Anyone know more facts?

Now "Sam" said, "I'm outraged that a teacher with good intentions could actually face jail time for recommending a book." Depending on the circumstances, I would agree. I do not recall, but did anyone mind when a librarian, Scott Savage, at Ohio State University recommended books for incoming freshmen by conservative authors because all other books were by liberal authors? See, for a hint, "Persecuted Librarian Censored Again." That guy was nearly hounded out of the university just for recommending books some people personally opposed. Then the American Library Association refused to assist him, even censored him, or so the title of the article states.

As If! is against censorship. Identifying a teacher under the circumstances presented here is a worthwhile cause. Hopefully concerns about censorship and unfairly accused teachers/librarians extend even to librarians who recommend books by conservative authors for balance and to the the American Library Association when it censors out such librarians.

8:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

CUIDADO, HOMBRES Y MUJERES

The muslims from Muhammad on
Down to the present have
Been known to murder poets; done
Their best, without reprieve,
To stifle, squelch, and silence all
Voices as controvert
Political-theological
Agenda: let´s be curt.

Unless they revolutionize
Their thinking (by a lot)
Muhammadans, though they would prize
Democracy, may not
Ever achieve full knowledge of
True methods democratic--
To tolerate cartoons as prove
They know to be erratic.

But here´s the clincher, funny part:
Amuricans, as have
Derived their science and their art,
Their government, above
All from Enlightenment ideals:
They too love censorship,
Most permanently Death, which deals
Rigor mortis to the lip.

The persecutions now begin,
O mark my words, O mark my words,
Amuricans have the thinnest skin--
!Cuidado! Heed the assassin´s swords!

--I.M.Small

8:58 AM  
Anonymous shu said...

This is ridiculous. Criminal charges for this? I wonder if they'd still charge the teacher if the teacher only recommended the book rather than "handing" it to her...

I honestly don't think it's too inappropriate for a 9th grader. There are far worse things that any 15-16 year old can get their hands on just as (or more) easily...

And just like some of the others have said, sometimes things like this does have an upside. "Any publicity is good publicity" right? =) In fact, every time a book gets deemed inappropriate or controversial, it never fails to get pique my curiosity and next thing I know, I'm searching for it on the bookshelves. Haha

7:06 AM  
Blogger Jessica said...

That's Texas, folks! Unfortunately, no surprises there, at least not for this former Texan.

--J.L. Powers

9:07 AM  
Anonymous Leah said...

Wow, that's pretty stupid. I just don't get it.

When I was in grade 9, my english teacher let my friend and I read a book about children who killed their parents (non-fiction) that someone had left in her room. I think that would justifiably be "harmful content", but I told my mom about it and all she said was that she wanted to read it when I was done xD

Surprised nobody ever worried about her lending us a book that wasn't hers though...

10:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many parents wish that their children read. I can't tell you how many of my friends complain to me about how their parents complain to them about not reading. What really bugs me is that it is sometimes the same parents that continue to complain when a teacher, or a friend, or a librarian manages to succeed in intriguing a student with the idea of actually cracking open a book. Things like these really irk me, a student who loves to read and who's mother doesn't make such a fuss. Sometimes I can't even talk about what books I've read with my friends because if their parents overheard, I'd be branded as a troublemaker or something equaly stupid.

My point is, I've read some pretty gruesome things. But movies these days show equeally gruesome things. In my Contemporary Lit class I'm reading A Time To Kill, a book some parents would consider horrendous. I just think it's ridiculous how hypocritical some people can be. A lot of the things (excluding fantasy, most sci/fi, etc) that can be found in books have been loosely based on true events or could eventually happen.

3:38 PM  
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