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

    March 19, 2012

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.