I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried: Schools in Menifee Union school district in Southern California are banning the dictionary, Merriam Webster's 10th edition, from the grade four and five classrooms because (brace yourself) the kids are looking up dirty words.
A parent complained that their child looked up the definition for 'oral sex' and apparently that is just plain wrong. So they branded the book as containing "sexually graphic" content that is "just not age appropriate" for the students.
How dare that child go to a reputable source for the proper definition of a word? Why didn't that child ask a schoolmate - you know, another fourth-grader who probably thinks that oral sex is how orals procreate - and then get misinformed? Why didn't this child look it up on the internet and then get warped from all the porn thrown in his or her face? WHY DID THIS CHILD TURN TO A DICTIONARY? WHY, GOD, WHY?
THE DICTIONARY IS THINE ENEMY! It tells you things -- accurate things! vetted by committees of established language experts! -- and that's such a huge problem and must be overcome.
Sure, I get that it's shocking that the child is wondering about oral sex, but at the same time, fourth and fifth grade are not kindergarten and sex ed started at my school around then, so. Anyway, the first question those parents should really have asked before having the dictionary banned is "where did little Jane or Johnny learn the term 'oral sex'? Odds are: an older child.
Because last time I checked the dictionary didn't read like a novel; you kind of need to know what the word is before you look up what it means. I suppose the child may have come across it while looking something else up but still, I'm 99.8% sure there wasn't a picture and the definition is what I'd call clinical not really graphic -- as in 'oral stimulation of the genitals' doesn't really make my loins tingle.
Thankfully, not all parents in these schools are on board with the ban. One parent, who sounds like a voice of reason, is quoted saying 'It is not such a bad thing for a kid to have the wherewithal to go and look up a word he may have even heard on the playground...You have to draw the line somewhere. What are they going to do next, pull encyclopaedias because they list parts of the human anatomy like the penis and vagina?'
Uh sir, don't give these people any more idea, m'kay?