Boots & Sabers

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0748, 06 Oct 23

West Bend Removes “Ender’s Game” From 8th Grade Book Club List


WEST BEND — On Monday, during the West Bend Special Curriculum meeting, it was announced that “Ender’s Game” would be removed from the Badger Middle School first-quarter book club list for eight-grade English class.


The West Bend School District had changed parameters for reviewing book club books during their Sept. 7 special board work session, with an emphasis on looking at three criteria defined in board policy, which are sexual content, graphic violence and excessive obscene language.


According to the WBSD, “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card, a 1985 science-fiction novel about a cadet, Andrew “Ender” Wiggin, who has trained since early childhood, with others, to win an anticipated third conflict with an invading alien species, was removed because it violates all three district policies.


The cited violations were:


 Sexual content: Bug mating described in detail and sexual jokes.


 Graphic violence: Physical fights between children, some resulting in death, and described in detail.


 Excessive obscene language: The use of “hell,” “damn” and “b*****d.”

Usually when we are discussing removing a book with graphic language from the curriculum, it is a book that I’ve never heard of. It’s usually some obscure trans-advocacy book or something that only the activists know about, but they treat it like THE MOST IMPORTANT BOOK YOU WILL EVER READ AND YOU ARE A MONSTER IF YOU DON’T LOVE IT!!!!! In this case, I’ve read Ender’s Game more than once – including rereading it a couple of years ago. It’s a brilliant book and legitimately a landmark piece of science fiction. The movie was acceptable. Not great, but decent.

But… it is, indeed, full of obscene language and children fighting (that’s kind of the point). The sexual content is rather benign, in my opinion, but it is there. Would I let my 8th grader read it? Yeah, I would. They probably wouldn’t get it yet, but it would introduce some deep concepts. It would invite the conversation and allow me to develop their minds.

But it is appropriate for an 8th grade book club in a government school? Meh… I could go either way. Could the book introduce or develop inappropriate thoughts without parental guidance? Maybe. I’m neither upset nor happy about the decision. It’s probably not the decision I would have made, but it’s not an unreasonable decision. It’s a great book, but there are millions of other books in the world.

See, liberals? See how easy that was? They can remove a book I like from the book club and I don’t act like they are burning books in the street.


0748, 06 October 2023


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