Rape, drugs, whoring, sodomy, man-boy love and a whole slew of other concepts are being shoved into the minds of high school students, and the parents are being left completely in the dark.
In what should be probably be considered a criminal act, a teacher and his Colorado high school have left parents outraged after he allegedly asked students to fill in the curse words of a censored version of Allen Ginsburg’s controversial poem ‘Howl’, as well study a sexually explicit song about sexting with minors – without asking parental permission first.
Students in the Music Literature class at Steamboat Springs High School were reportedly tasked with completing the sexually charged and graphic assignments.
The teacher responsible, Ryan Ayala, has since apologized for focusing his lesson around Ginsberg’s famed rambling elegiac poem, insisting it was the ‘most offensive’ material covered in his class.
The poem was in a book approved by the school board, but it had the words considered offensive censored out – which Ayala had the students restore.
Words like ‘f—‘, ‘c–k’ and ‘c–t’.
As part of the lesson, Ayala’s students were asked to fill in the blanks of curse words and colloquialisms for which he didn’t seek parental permission for beforehand.
Hmm…censoring out specific words and then having high school students fill them back in. Did no one really see this coming?
The alarm was raised by furious parent Brett Cason, whose 16-year-old daughter Skylar was in the class.
Skylar said she felt guilty and shameful when her teacher asked her to theorize about the symbolism of the phrase ‘granite c**k’ as part of a classroom discussion.
The school has since stood by Ayala, saying he was justified in his decision to bring the poem into the class’ syllabus.
Superintendent Brad Meeks said the district is working to ensure teachers are aware of ‘proper procedures around incorporating controversial materials,’ and follow them, as well as giving students who opt out alternative assignments.
‘We do believe that what occurred this fall was simply an oversight as a result of not understanding the policy,’ Meeks wrote. ‘We regret if members of our community were offended.’
But in a separate assignment, students were asked to review and meditate to a song that talked about sexting and offering sexual favors to a teenager, something that ‘blindsided’ officials from the school when Cason raised the alarm.
As for the meditation assignment, Meeks said “parents were not given advance notice that would have allowed them to opt their child out of participating’ in a work he described as ‘considered controversial by some for its use of expletives and portrayals and descriptions of sexual matters.”
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‘Students should never feel shame and guilt as part of an assignment at school,’ said Jeremy Dys, Cason’s attorney. “In the age of MeToo and Harvey Weinstein, it’s hard for me to understand why Superintendent Meeks would think requiring teenage girls to meditate on a song normalizing sexting would be acceptable. If they want to teach on controversial materials, they can, but they should warn parents and give them an opportunity to choose an alternative assignment.”
Cason said he would’ve been fine with the incident, had he been given a warning and the chance to opt Skylar out, but “that was never offered to us or her.”
‘I was completely taken aback by the material and the content in the material, what she was required to write,’ he added.
After he voiced his concerns to the school, a committee compiled by community members, students and teachers determined the material was educational in nature and covered by the district’s policies.
“From its inception, it was a controversial piece of material,” acknowledged Jay Hamric, director of teaching and learning for the district. There was quite a consensus among the review committee, that “Howl,” “has educational value and merit.”
Hamric acknowledged that Howl contains offensive language that offends different people in different ways.
Huh. The Steamboat Springs School District is not concerned with how parents may view the curriculum they are force feeding their kids, but they also see educational value in poetry that also glorifies and celebrates pederasty, which is sexual relationships between grown men and male minors, typically those that are pre-pubescent.
Let’s not forget the rape culture, drug use, and disregard for women in general. There are several creative words used to described female genitalia.
What’s next in Steamboat Springs? An in-depth study of 2 Live Crew’s music? Perhaps a screening of Deep Throat?
Unsatisfied, the Cason family turned to First Liberty Institute – a law firm specializing in religious liberty claims – and sent a letter Monday demanding the school district make major changes moving forward.
Those demands include a written apology to parents and more notice for parents about future assignments like this one.
‘This is just too sexually explicit, it’s vulgar, it’s obscene it’s almost pornographic. It does not belong in a high school setting,’ Cason said.
Should Cason’s demands not be met, the disgruntled father says he will file a federal lawsuit against the district.
Skylar still attends Ayala’s class, but now says it’s difficult and ‘awkward’ since the fallout.
The Superintendents statement in full:
Last month, the Steamboat Pilot and Today wrote an article about a book by Allen Ginsberg that was taught in a Steamboat Springs High School literature class. “Howl and Other Poems” by Ginsberg is considered controversial by some for its use of expletives and portrayals and descriptions of sexual matters. There are procedures in place for when mature content is part of the curriculum and that includes giving parents advance notice and allowing them to opt their child out of participating. A review committee has been looking into the teaching of “Howl and Other Poems” and, while it has determined that it will continue to be part of the curriculum, it also determined that parents were not given advance notice that would have allowed them to opt their child out of participating when it was part of the curriculum this fall. For that, we apologize.
We are working to ensure that all of our teachers are aware of proper procedures around incorporating controversial materials and follow them. Students who choose not to engage in the material will be given an alternative assignment.
We do believe that what occurred this fall was simply an oversight as a result of not understanding the policy. We regret if members of our community were offended.
Dr. Brad Meeks
Steamboat Springs School District RE-2
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