Not even dictionaries are safe for children?

School officials at Menifee Union School District temporarily removed copies of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary Tenth Edition for containing graphic terms like “oral sex” after a parent complained.

(But as it turns out, the dictionary did not even contain this term…)

Nonetheless, NCAC executive director Joan Bertin explains,

Removing a book should be based solely on its educational value, not on whether a few parents think it is a good or bad thing. On that theory, you would only have ‘Dick and Jane’ left in the library … We don’t think it is a good idea to remove dictionaries. It is a dictionary; its value is neutral. This just boggles my mind.

A committee will be reviewing the dictionary (as they say, it takes an army) to decide if it should be permenently removed. “We always welcome the public’s comments,” says the district’s Public Information Officer Betti Cadmus. Oh good. You can call or write the district here and tell them how you feel:

30205 Menifee Rd
Menifee, CA 92584
(951) 672-1851

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2 Responses to Not even dictionaries are safe for children?

  1. Mark says:

    Well, you won’t even have Dick and Jane because you just know a parent will complain about the name Dick. I can hear it now, “Why can’t we find comparable books that don’t have the use of THAT word.” When words carry more wait than meaning we have a real problem with comprehending important details.

  2. Dave Peterson says:

    M-W’s Collegiate tenth ed. might not have “oral sex,” but the eleventh sure does. I suspect the complainant heard that the dictionary had the phrase in it and just wasn’t careful about the citation as he/she was not doing their own research. That’s typical, of self-appointed censors, though.

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