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Friday, April 14, 2006

Student can recite poem with profanity

Student can recite poem with profanity


U.S. District Court Judge Brian Sandoval gave the ok for a 14 year old student to recite a poem in competition with the words "hell" and "damn" in it. Stickpoet recently reported on this in an earlier blog.

A school official, Steven West, at Coral Academy of Science in Reno, NV told 14 year old Jacob Behymer-Smith, that he could not recite the poem in competition again after using W.H. Auden's "The More Loving One" and then reprimanded the student's English teacher. West said the Auden then work contained profanity.

It is sad that this matter had to rise to the level of taking up time on a federal court docket and the school's decision blows my mind. Of course you may go here and judge for yourself just how profane this poem about love is.

I have to say, based on the poor the judgment used by the school in this instance, I don't know that I would trust these people with greater issues of education for a child of mine.

This kid is a freshman in high school for Christ's sake. The academy's attorney said this was not about free speech (the court bagged to differ) but about the schools' ability to set educational standards. That is scary given the prominence of W. H. Auden in modern poetry and how benign the usage of the words in question.

Jacob intends to recite the poem on April 22 during Poetry Out Loud, a contest sponsored by the National Endowment of the Arts and the Poetry Foundation.

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