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The book, “642 Things to Write About” has writing prompts to get those creative juices flowing such as:

Write a sex scene you wouldn’t show your mom.

Describe a time when you wanted to orgasm but couldn’t.

Write an X-rated Disney scenario.

Write a scene that begins: ‘It was the first time I killed a man.’

You are a serial killer. What TV shows are on your DVR list? Why?

Apparently the book was part of a college level writing course that was being taught at the high school.

I dunno if giving students a workbook which has sexual content qualifies as "child pornography", but those do seem rather inappropriate. Unless you want your kid to start their porn writing career off early and right. Or to imagine themselves as a serial killer.

https://www.cleveland.com/akron/2021/09/hudson-mayor-craig-shubert-parents-call-for-resignation-of-hudson-school-board-teachers-after-students-receive-book-of-inappropriate-writing-prompts.html

ETA: If this is the incorrect circle, please let me know. I wasn't sure where this fit in.

The book, “642 Things to Write About” has writing prompts to get those creative juices flowing such as: Write a sex scene you wouldn’t show your mom. Describe a time when you wanted to orgasm but couldn’t. Write an X-rated Disney scenario. Write a scene that begins: ‘It was the first time I killed a man.’ You are a serial killer. What TV shows are on your DVR list? Why? Apparently the book was part of a college level writing course that was being taught at the high school. I dunno if giving students a workbook which has sexual content qualifies as "child pornography", but those do seem rather inappropriate. Unless you want your kid to start their porn writing career off early and right. Or to imagine themselves as a serial killer. https://www.cleveland.com/akron/2021/09/hudson-mayor-craig-shubert-parents-call-for-resignation-of-hudson-school-board-teachers-after-students-receive-book-of-inappropriate-writing-prompts.html ETA: If this is the incorrect circle, please let me know. I wasn't sure where this fit in.

53 comments

[–] mathwitch 12 points (+12|-0)

Many of the prompts seem fairly heavy for a high school class. There's more in the linked article, including

You are a brand-new suicide-hotline counselor. Describe how you feel during the course of your first call.

Drink a beer. Write about the taste.

The first time you had sex

I don't know what fraction of the books 600+ prompts are inappropriate for classroom use, or how the teachers were using the prompts, but it does look like this was an oversight, and that if had looked more closely, a different book would have been chosen, such as the "young writers" version mentioned by another commenter here. But the reactions of its opponents are even more ridiculous.

“It has come to my attention that your educators are distributing essentially what is child pornography in the classroom. I’ve spoken to a judge this evening and she’s already confirmed that. So I’m going to give you a simple choice: either choose to resign from this board of education or you will be charged,” Hudson Mayor Craig Shubert said during the school board meeting on Monday.

That's bonkers. There is no way anyone could be charged, unless teachers were explicitly assigning and reading writing samples produced using inappropriate prompts. Trying to threaten the school board with unjustified threats of criminal charges is insane. This is the mayor! If I lived there, I would start calling for him to resign. The school board didn't do anything nearly as unethical.

“I demand that there be cameras in classrooms as a matter of public record that we can pull and view what is being taught to our kids and what is being said to our kids,” Dirker said at the meeting.

This is a similar overbearing demand. If you want to justify allowing parents to surveil high school classrooms at will, you should provide more evidence than a book with an unspecified percentage of inappropriate prompts!

I think it's notable that no one at the hearing talked about any of their children becoming distressed or hurt. The only thing they say is that one of their daughters confirmed that she was using the book. The kids were all fine. These prompts are inappropriate for a teacher to assign but they're the sort of thing that many of them could come up with on their own. This news story is a bunch of hot air.

[–] lucrecia 5 points (+5|-0)

I liked the suicide hotline one! We actually explored a very similar idea when I was at school, and I think it was good as an exercise in empathy. I also thought the 'write a letter from a drug addict' was a good one. I thought it was really creepy that they were acting like it was harmful for teens to so much as attempt to empathise. Those ones were examples that would actually benefit from being discussed in the class; imo it's the safest way they can learn about these things.

[–] mathwitch 0 points (+1|-1)

Fair enough. I selected the prompts that I would have had the most objections to as a student (for reasons I'll leave vague), but reasonable people can differ. None of the opponents quoted in the article seem reasonable.

[–] lucrecia 3 points (+3|-0)

None of the opponents quoted in the article seem reasonable.

Yep! I went through the list of prompts in the article and there was a handful that I thought were unsuitable, a few I liked or were at least fine as-is, and then a few that would be fine if they were tweaked (my fave prompt was the sermon prompt, and if they just changed 'sex scandal' to 'scandal' it'd be suitable for all ages). I'm sure people would have different opinions on which were fine and which were best left unused, but my main takeaway was that the people quoted in the article were on another planet.