Teacher fired over poetry

Ok, something's wrong with this picture: A couple of high-school students ask to see their poetry teacher's book, he agrees. Parents complain that the book is dirty and the teacher is fired. What the heck?

Yisrael, whose annual salary is $71,000, was accused last month of providing two students - a boy and a girl - a copy of his self-published collection of work. The poems were later copied by students and distributed among other students.

Yisrael was to be a featured speaker at a high school performance-poetry class last month, but he missed the event because of illness. When he returned to work, the two students in the poetry class sought him out at his office and asked for a copy of his poetry book, according to Princeton officials.

A parent later complained to district officials after seeing some of the poetry. The book - "Words From a Poet" - was published by Yisrael in 2003. It includes many poems on subjects including the death of his younger brother, sports, alcoholism and other social commentary...

Read the complete article here.

The titles of some of Yisrael's apparent "sexual" poems are more funny/lame than shocking: "The Nasty Man in Me?", "I Like Big Women"? Oy. But still, firing a teacher over a book containing a handful of poems dealing with (gasp) sex, is ridiculous! Alcoholism, death, etc., are acceptable topics but it's not like adults have sex or anything in America. Of course not.

This is just as bad as labeling Toni Morrison and Kurt Vonnegut pornographic writers. People in the United States are extremely adamant about freedom of speech and yet at the same time censorship is encouraged just as strongly, if not even more so... I don't know about you but there's something very insidious about the mixing of freedom of speech with puritanism.

1 comment:

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