“Ender’s Game” Reading Gets South Carolina Middle School Teacher Suspended

    March 19, 2012
    Shaylin Clark
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A South Carolina middle school teacher has been suspended for reading selections from Orson Scott Card’s science fiction classic Ender’s Game to his students. The teacher, whose name has not been released, read selections from three books, of which Ender’s Game was one. A 14-year-old student complained that the book contained curse words and “pornographic” material. The book is generally rated as being appropriate for children ages 12 and up.

Per procedure, the teacher was placed on administrative leave after the student complained that the book was inappropriate. The administration then began its own investigation, which involved a review of all three books.

The administrative investigation and a suspension for the teacher, however, were not sufficient for the student’s parent, who also contacted local police to complain about the incident. Police have not filed charges, but according to a school district statement the investigation is ongoing and the administration is working to “determine if any of the events in question violate the law.”

Ender’s Game was published in 1985. It won a Nebula Award for best novel in 1985 and a Hugo Award for best novel in 1986, as well as numerous other awards and nominations. It is widely regarded as a classic of science fiction literature. The book’s target audience is teens and young adults. As such, it is a fixture in school libraries English classrooms in middle schools and high schools across the country. While often violent – occasionally graphically so – there are no real “curse words,” nor is there any sexual content at all.

A request for comment from the school district has not yet been answered.

What do you think? Is Ender’s Game appropriate for middle schoolers? Should the teacher have been suspended? Let us know in the comments.

  • Sandy Fisher

    I read Ender’s Game when I was in middle school, and it has since been one of my favorite books. There’s nothing in it that should raise red flags more so than the average TV commercials many children are subjected to on a daily basis.

  • Stosh Kowalski

    Ender’s Game has been a favorite of mine for many years. While there is some pretty graphic violence – enough that I made my kids wait until they were a little older before reading it – there’s absolutely no sex in it whatsoever. The people who complained must either have some very kinky sex lives or be completely ignorant as to what sex is.

  • Stephen

    If only I had known it was that easy to get rid of teachers that I didn’t like back in middle school. Also, how can the administration’s investigation include reading all three books. Only one of those books was actually read, and only one of those books is actually meant for kids. Shiiiit, we read Huck Finn in my 8th grade english class, and that book has way more curse words. It’s called making use of the vernacular. How boring would it be if all characters talked with perfect grammar and upheld political correctness? No 14-yr old should be able to complain about what s/he is learning anyway. They don’t have an understanding of the long term importance of what they are being taught.

  • Saffi

    What school district? And what was the name of the teacher? Any other facts that would allow interested readers to follow up?

    • http://www.webpronews.com/author/shaylin-clark Shaylin Clark

      The teacher’s name has not been released. It appears to be the Aiken County school district.

      • C3vink

        The teacher’s name is Culp.

  • Scott

    Has the parent read the book?

  • GoddammitJaneAusten

    Occasional scenes of graphic violence in Ender’s Game? Yeah, it’s in there. The scene after Ender gets the monitor taken out? The scene in the bathroom in Battle School? Pretty intense stuff happening there

    Yet the complaint was over curse words and pornographic material? Are you kidding me? First of all, there are no curse words… it’s basically stuff like Peter calling Valentine a “fart mouth” or the other kids in Battle School picking on each other. Which, while unpleasant, is not really cursing.

    As for “pornographic material”… you have to really be effin’ stretching it. Consider this: Ender starts the book at age 6. In Battle School, it’s mostly boys though there are a few girls (like Petra). They are all prepubescent. They sleep naked (/gasp!!!). Here’s the newsflash though– Nobody cares, and nobody pays attention to this (except Bonzo Madrid, who orders everyone in Salamander Army not to “skin” by Petra– which, as Ender notes, is divisive for the army and sets Petra apart as “different” somehow… purely because of her gender). If anything, they are DE-sexualized– they’re children. They’re soldiers. None of these kids in Battle School are even thinking about it.

    I say, if you are sexualizing little kids in a science fiction book, you are either a) really ashamed of nakedness/sex or b) you are probably a pervert.

    (I think, the only part that could be perverted in any way is when Rose the Nose animates male genitalia on his desk when Ender gets transferred from Salamander Army to Rat Army– and even then, it’s still more about picking on Ender and how Rose the Nose doesn’t take anything seriously at all.)

    Seriously though, this student and their parent… absolutely outrageous. “Oh no, if a character is naked, we can’t handle it! But I’m totally not going to complain about violent character deaths and xenocide.” Wah wah wah.

  • norbu

    This is just stupid I read this in midle schooll it was great. By the way what’s did thay say this about?