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Evie

Not sure whether to laugh or cry...

http://timesonline.typepad.com/sc...banned-from-school-classroom.html
spidernick

Not a thread about The Style Council's Long Hot Summer then?!!!

I was going to say 'Only in America', but these days we seem to follow their lead in madness like this (the litigation culture, etc.) so we may well have similar stories at some stage in the future.  It's bonkers!

On a lighter note it reminds me of Blackadder the Third and of course, the dictionary episode:

Johnson: 'Surely you're not using the first ever dictionary to look up rude words?'

Blackadder: 'That's what every other one will be used for!'.
VillageDuckpond

Spidernick

I really wouldn't be surprised if this weren't taken up in the UK as well as we seem to follow the US in everything else! Surely what that child was doing is all part of growing up and being curious ....and I see no harm in that!

Sasha
TheRejectAmidHair

I must admit that when I got the one-volume edition of the complete OED, the first thing I did was to look up the etymology of the word "fart".

(And no - I wasn't a child: I was in my 30s.)
Chibiabos83

Thanks so much for flagging this up, E/V - I'm about to get stuck into writing an essay on censorship and it will be a very welcome inclusion. Always a good idea to put something topical in as it may come as a pleasant change to the lecturer who has had to read umpteen essays all the same. Though in fact I may be the only one in the class who's doing censorship.

Nick, the first time I saw that episode of Blackadder I laughed out loud at the acuity of the observation, still very young though I was. I would have been six or seven and it chimed in perfectly with what I had been doing with dictionaries in the past few years. To this day it's all I use them for.
Caro

When I was about 13 (children - some of them anyway - were more innocent in those days) I asked my grandmother what a brothel was.  [The hostel kids walked in crocodile to school past a house which seemed to have loosely clad young women hanging out of at odd times of the day and some of the more sophisticated of us thought it was a brothel.  But this was information beyond me.]

She told me to look up the dictionary (my grandmother had brought four sons and wasn't great on sex education), which I did, but it an irritating way of saying "Where prostitutes work" and then "prostitutes" were "'people who work in a brothel".  So I was going round in circles till an aunt who must have been there for the original question decided she would tell me.  

By my desk is an Oxford school dictionary and it does not mention oral sex or some of the other words kids (and adults) like to look up.  I think there is a reasonable point that a more age-appropriate dictionary could be used.  

Cheers, Caro.
TheRejectAmidHair

Caro wrote:
...then "prostitutes" were "'people who work in a brothel".  


That was a shockingly bad definition of "prostitute" in that dictionary!

But yes, I agree that one could have an age-appropriate dictionary in schools for small children. But then again ... sniggering over rude words in a dictionary may well be part of growing up!
Caro

It was a long time ago, Himadri, and I may not have remembered the actual definition but I do remember that the definitions just took me in circles and didn't help me understand at all.

Cheers, Caro.
Freyda

My Chambers Dictionary doesn't have an entry for oral sex but does have oral contraception - clearly it's the sensible girls' dictionary choice.
Melony

Freyda, that was the best comment ever!  LOL  It's incredible that the dictionary was banned, but really, is a definition of oral sex really needed in a dictionary?  Must be a post-Clinton dictionary.  Of course there are age appropriate dictionaries that should be purchased and used in an elementary school, but evidently the naive librarians never thought about such a word being in the dictionary!
MikeAlx

When I was about 12 or 13 there was a joke going round something like: "Did you hear about the Irishman who thought oral sex meant just talking about it?". Maybe a dictionary definition is needed after all.  Wink
Chibiabos83

I thought it was something to do with ears until I saw it written down.
Evie

Shocked

Must be that musical background!
Chibiabos83

You must be right. Afterwards I could never look at Mrs Chesterfield in quite the same way when she said it was time to test my aural skills.
Green Jay

Melony wrote:
 It's incredible that the dictionary was banned, but really, is a definition of oral sex really needed in a dictionary?  


Yes, Melony, I wondered that too, as my experience of dictionaries is that they function much as Caro describes above, taking you all round the houses (of ill repute, if that's what you're looking for Wink) without quite getting to the - ooh dear - nub of things.   In fact, a sort of book form of "You'll know when you're older, dear".

Embarassed It's imposible to reply to this without falling over a double-entendre.
Joe Mac

Caro, I think I know what a brothel is, but you've baffled me altogether with your, 'The hostel kids walked in crocodile'
Chibiabos83

Ha! Maybe the expression hasn't made it to Canada yet. The OED defines this sense of 'crocodile' as:

colloq. (orig. humorous).    a. A girls' school walking two and two in a long file. Also of a boys' school, etc.
Evie

Strange (to me at least) that it is defined primarily as a girls' school practice - I would just have said it was children (ie of either sex) walking in pairs in a line (often hand in hand - so sweet!!).  'Two and two' is a lovely phrase.
Caro

We didn't walk hand in hand - we walked in time, like soldiers.  The lead girls (it was an all-girls' school) had to start with 'left, left, left, right, left'. And getting out of time was frowned upon - we were in public, after all, putting our best feet forward!

My children were absolutely amazed when we went that way once and saw the kids still doing it - they couldn't believe that I would have had to do this.  I think we quite enjoyed it.  We walked in crocodile to school and home for lunch and then home at the end of the day.  But we just made our own way back after lunch.  

Mike, when I was 12 I wouldn't have known what sex was, let alone oral sex!

Cheers, Caro.
VillageDuckpond

Caro

As a grandmother I am not completely sure if I do even now!

Sasha
Caro

I find it hard to believe how innocent we were.  I am not sure I can manage this story without getting more explicit than is needed here, but when I was 15 I came across a book at home with a title like "Love, Marriage and the Family" which my parents must have used for assistance in these matters.  My father allowed me to take it to my hostel with the proviso that I didn't let my grandmother notice.  

At night I would read it aloud to the girls in my dormitory who were 15 and 16 year olds.  We found it absolutely hilarious and gross - women were expected to touch their husband's private parts!!  Embarassed  This was beyond our comprehension and certainly well beyond our experience.  

Sorry about this!  But it seems a world away from 16-year-olds now.

Cheers, Caro.
Melony

Isn't crocodile fashion how the "12 little girls in 2 straight lines, the youngest one was Madeline..." (Bemelmans) walked?

Well, which dictionary was this, dammit, we must look up more words.  I'm serious.  If oral sex is in there, what else is?  I'm sort of disturbed that it is in the dictionary...is missionary position?  I mean, what's the point?  Am I being Puritanical?  Very Happy
Joe Mac

Walking in crocodile...the world is full of wonders still. Thanks for enlightening me, but what are 'the hostel kids'? Clearly kids who stayed in a hostel environment. Was it a boarding school?
Caro

It was (and is) an ordinary single-sex state school (quite common in NZ).  It was in the city of Invercargill which services a wide area of relatively wealthy farming families.  In those days, especially, there were not a lot of other secondary schools around, and about 100 of the 600 pupils boarded. We were the hostel kids/girls.  Some boarded full time and went home just for holidays, some like me were week-day boarders and bussed home at the end of the week.  We went by bus back to school on Mondays but the bus was just an ordinary passenger bus and didn't get there till 10.30am, so every Monday I missed the first two periods of school.  (As did quite a lot of other kids.)  Didn't seem to suffer much for it.

Cheers, Caro.
MikeAlx

Caro, how strange to have grown up on a farm and yet been innocent of such matters!

My parents, in keeping with the Dr Spock generation ethos, were very open about sex; so when my older brother (aged 4 or 5) asked where he came from they told him. He burst out laughing and refused to believe them. When, finally, he was convinced, he said "If I'm very good and quiet, can I watch?"

We had a children's book that explained all about gender differences and pubity and where babies come from. But I think by the time I was 12 I'd forgotten all about it, and instead got my education from that ever-reliable source, playground rumours.  Wink Took years to recover!
Chibiabos83

I was given a very informative Christmas present called Encyclopaedia of Knowledge by my staid and Presbyterian paternal grandparents when I was seven, which I am convinced they would not have given me if they had inspected it thoroughly. There was a special section at the back on the human body, including detailed diagrams of procreation etc.

At about the same time, my family got its first word processor, an Amstrad that would look pathetic by today's standards, though one could play hangman and reversi, which was tremendously exciting at the time. I distinctly remember an occasion where I was practising my keyboard skills by copying out a passage from the section in question, which contained the phrase "pleasurable sexual sensations", when an elderly neighbour came round. I continued writing, whether oblivious to the possibility of being discovered or not I can't remember, though I do recall my mother's mortification that the old lady might have looked over my shoulder and seen what I was writing. My parents themselves wouldn't have censored me, though.
MikeAlx

Personally, I would have been more embarrassed by the Amstrad.  Wink
Apple

This is a very interesting topic, it is debated greatly the rights and wrongs of sexual information and how much is too much etc.

In some ways it is good children have the facts but basic information at an early age can't do any harm, in fact I think it can do good, for example young children taught how their bodies work and what bits are what and that their bodies are special and personal to them is a good thing without over emphasis on the sexual parts but gives them the knowledge then to realise when adults sometimes volate that special place that it is wrong and they shouldn't be doing it and to make sure someone is told and it is put a stop to. Not that it is something which is natural and they should put up with.  I have always been totally honest and open with my kids and any question they have raised about sexual matters I have answered them honestly and openly and explained it to them and made sure they have understood not only the physical definition of what they are asking but the physical consequences of such actions and emotional aspects as well.

Going back to the original post, the banning of a dictionary is hardly going to stem the flow of information in this world of the internet and I would guarantee if a curious child was to type in the word "SEX" into google they would come up with a damn sight worse than a definition of oral sex!! With that in mind isn't it better to be on hand and tackle these issues head on rather than push them under the carpet as though they ar dirty and not for young eyes.

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