A Donegal teacher is spearheading a national campaign to challenge what she describes as the extreme sexualisation of the English curriculum in secondary schools and the unhealthy emphasis on gratuitous violence, torture and death it contains.
Wendi Drinan, from Letterkenny, said Donegal parents who are concerned about what their child is actually being exposed to in their English class, under the guise of a relevant new curriculum, should make contact with the Minister for Education and their local TDs and senators right away to voice their concerns.
She is asking people to visit Irishparents.blogspot.com to find out more about the offensive material for themselves.
Ms Drinan, an English teacher and researcher, has pleaded with parents and secondary school principals and teachers in Donegal to seriously examine the content of many of the new texts which have been included on the National Council of Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) current Junior Cycle and Leaving Certificate English prescribed text lists.
She says she has discovered the books contain descriptions about sexual acts - both heterosexual and homosexual, masturbation, oral sex, paedophilia, bestiality, incest, torture, bondage, extreme physical violence, death (gratuitous; not dealing with bereavement), suicide, demonic possession, underage sexual acts (minor with minor; adult with minor), gruesome murder (involving chopping off heads and other body parts), desecration of a corpse (e.g with a chainsaw), disrespect towards parents, downgrading of parents, and an extensive use of foul and offensive language which includes blasphemy and extremely crude sexual expressions.
"Parents and teachers can check out all the texts -novels, plays and films- on the current English prescribed lists, issued by the National Council of Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) on the informative blog site:irishparents.blogspot.com and can also view there, both my comprehensive report on the content of the entire Junior and Senior English Curricula and a YouTube video, which exposes both the extreme sexualisation of the English curriculum and the unhealthy emphasis on gratuitous violence, torture and death," she said.
"I know many parents and teachers in Donegal are concerned and horrified at some of the "inappropriate" content and it is because of this that during the last nine months I have conducted a comprehensive examination of all of the material on the prescribed lists to examine the claim that "many of these texts have little or no true literary or inspirational/educational content and have simply been chosen for the contemporary theme they represent."
Ms Drinan has also contacted the Minister for Education, Norma Foley in the matter and outlined her concerns saying young pupils deserved better. She outlines what she calls bias and imbalance in the material chosen by the NCCA and also the nature of the "inappropriate" material being taught to minors in the classroom.
She told the minister: "The books I am referring to contain, and unashamedly promote, highly sexualised themes and outline and describe in very graphic detail, sexual scenes, where, for example, a minor is subjected to oral sex in a car by an older man, and decides afterwards she rather enjoyed the experience. This scene is graphically described in detail, spread over five pages, in The Lauras by Sara Taylor; a minor has sex with a man who kidnaps her and ties her up, who again, recalls the experience with longing in Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman); minors are actively encouraged by their teachers (“Guardians”) to have sex with each other in Never Let me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro; in Days Without End by Sebastian Barry and all throughout this very adult-themed book it makes constant reference to lust and sexual longings.It also contains a good deal of offensive language and extreme descriptions of gore and cruelty, with no obvious redeeming theme."
Ms Drinan said the minister and local TDs had to act now.
"For the sake of our nation’s well-being, safety and educational progress, I ask you, minister, to please intervene and remove these offensive and inappropriate books and films from the prescribed text lists.
"Otherwise, the next generation coming up will leave school with no experience of the beauty, depth and challenge of true literature but ample knowledge of how to torture and kill a young child, plan a suicide attempt, have sex with their step-mother, desecrate a corpse and perform oral sex.
“I believe the next generation deserves better," she says.
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