I apologise for the harsh title of this post but facts are facts. Last year I read and reviewed a book called the Freedom Writers Diary, which was also made into a movie starring Hilary Swank.
It was an excellent book written by Asian, Caucasian, Latino, Hispanic and African-American teenagers about their own lives in the inner city of Los Angeles. These students were all expected (by the teachers) to drop out, end up in jail or on the streets or worse. Instead every one of them graduated from High School. These teenagers learnt to rise above the poverty, the drug abuse, the guns and other crimes in their neighbourhoods. They learnt to beleive in their dreams, to make goals for themselves and to strive to reach those goals. And one of the things they did was to set up a Freedom Writers Foundation.
Well today I read a news article that says this.
An Indiana teacher who used a much lauded bestseller, The Freedom Writers Diary, to try to inspire under-performing high-school students has been suspended from her job without pay for 18 months.
This high school teacher attended a work shop at the Freedom Writers Foundation. She was DENIED the opportunity to allow her students to READ and learn from this book - The Freedom Writers Diaries. Apparently one school board member objected to the language. ONE person objected to swearing - language that everyone speaks and hears all day, every day, even me.
One has to wonder if it was the swearing the board member really objected to - or whether it was the clear message of the book that kids can turn their lives around, and take charge of their own destinies. There are some in academia, unfortunately, who can't stand it when kids don't live down to their expectations. The real obscenity here is not the swearing, but the refusal by the board to give this teacher permission to use a very powerful tool to help these kids excel. WRH Rivero
What makes this worse is that in todays world, this story is not reported in the US media. No, we have to read the non-American press to find stories like this.