By April 27, 2007 0 Comments Read More →

"Do not judge or censor what you are writing"–we've got that covered

More details from the Chicago Tribune in the case of the student who was arrested for doing his homework (“Student’s writing brings disorderly conduct charge,” by Jeff Long). Specifically, details of the assignment, which was called “Free Writing”:

“Write whatever comes to your mind. Do not judge or censor what you are writing.”

Now, upon reading the carefully culled passages — chosen, I’m sure, for maximum shock value — there are those who will argue that, in school, “free” doesn’t really mean “whatever the hell you want,” that a student still needs to use good judgment. I don’t dispute that at all. The remarks show someone who’s either exceedingly immature or genuinely disturbed:

Carroll said the complaint against Lee quotes his essay as saying: “Blood, sex and booze. Drugs, drugs, drugs are fun. Stab, stab, stab, stab, stab, s … t … a … b …, puke. So I had this dream last night where I went into a building, pulled out two P90s and started shooting everyone, then had sex with the dead bodies. Well, not really, but it would be funny if I did.”

I don’t know the author, but I’m going to go with “exceedingly immature.” I’m not really shocked. In fact, I can still remember how much fun I thought it was to shock adults when I was in high school–that’s what this feels like.

I can see why this would prompt a call to the student’s parents. I can see why a visit to the school counselor would be in order. Those are first steps in a logical sequence of events. Calling the cops shows a startling lack of imagination on the part of the adults.

Now, all that said: don’t tell a teenager to write whatever the hell they want if you’re not prepared to read it.



Posted in: Book News

About the Author:

Keir Graff is Executive Editor of Booklist Publications and the author of five books. His most recent is the middle-grade novel, The Other Felix (2011). Follow him on Twitter at @Booklist_Keir.

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