Contra what I last wrote on these pages, it appears that George Orwell's ghost is restless. These days, he haunts Menifee California:
A parent complaint that a dictionary in her son’s classroom at Oak Meadows Elementary contained the term and definition for “oral sex” prompted school officials in the Menifee Union School District to pull all copies of the book from its fourth and fifth grade classrooms last week.
Lest defenders of morality question the inclusion of some scurrilous sex book in the fourth grade curriculum, it should be noted that the dictionary in question is Noah Webster's.
[W]hen the parent — who was volunteering in her son’s classroom when she came across the word — complained to the school’s principal about the explicit language, curriculum officials with the district made a decision to temporarily remove the books.
Next, according to school board’s policy, a committee consisting of site and district representatives will be formed to “determine the extent to which the challenged material supports the curriculum, the educational appropriateness of the material, and its suitability for the age level of the student.”
This is what we've come to. One idiot can have the dictionary removed from schools, by complaining that it includes a dirty word.
On second thought, the ghost to invoke isn't Orwell's. It's that of his countryman C. S. Lewis:
The bright pupil thus remains democratically fettered to his own age group throughout his school career, and a boy who would be capable of tackling Aeschylus or Dante sits listening to his coeval’s attempts to spell out A CAT SAT ON A MAT.
The parent who filed this complaint should be named and ridiculed across the entire internet. Since I can't do that, I'll have to link to the profile of Menifee Union School District Superintendent Linda Callaway.
Doctor Callaway, you've banned the dictionary. Is this what you went through the trouble of getting a doctorate in education to do?
H/t: Chris Berez.