Every now and then, a parent complains about their child being exposed to a science fiction book that contains challenging ideas or language — most notoriously, last year there was the whole kerfuffle over Ender’s Game. But the latest outcry is over what might be the most unexpected text of them all: Robopocalypse, the robot uprising novel that Spielberg is making into a film.
To be fair, Sam Lee, the parent of a 14-year-old kid who’s being required to read Robopocalypse at STEM Academy in Hardin Valley in West Knoxville, TN does have a point about the language in the book. Here’s the passage that got Lee riled up:
In particular, the reference to “God and all his cronies,” followed by “fucking” and “kill,” may have been a bit strong. In any case, Lee is calling the book “inappropriate” and raising a protest. The book was assigned as part of a summer reading program, with the kids discussing it and other books in small groups this fall.
Sam Lee proceeded to start counting all the f-word mentions, and had reached 15 by the time he was halfway through Robopocalypse.
In an email, STEM program administrators told Lee’s wife that their goal in assigning the book as a summer read was to keep students engaged in the core aspects of the STEM curriculum over break, reports WBIR-TV.
STEM Academy Dean Debbie Sayers wrote: “We discussed adult-level language, and decided that most (not all) students of this age group are exposed to profanity through much more graphic means than the written text.”
She also said the science-fiction thriller was one of three options given to students, and “they overwhelmingly picked Robopocalypse” to read for their summer assignment.
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