School Officials Threatened with Violence

Is there a word for “beyond angry”? If so that is my current mood. I am not going to even attempt to commentate on this at the moment because I am too furious, but I have pasted the article below. I will just say one thing: WHY IS IT ACCEPTABLE FOR RIGHT WING CONSERVATIVE CHRISTIANS TO THREATEN PEOPLE WITH VIOLENCE WHEN THEY DISAGREE WITH THEM BUT IT IS NOT ACCEPTABLE TO USE THE F WORD?!!! IS HURTING OR KILLING SOMEONE MORE ACCEPTABLE THAN SWEARING??? Why does this make sense to them???? I’m so mad I could spit.

D126 official receives threats through e-mail because of book debate

August 31, 2007
By Angela Caputo Staff writer
A cyber debate about a controversial summer reading selection turned menacing Wednesday when an Alsip school official was targeted with threatening e-mails, prompting police to investigate the source.

Despite the violent nature of one message in particular, police don’t believe the students of Alsip, Hazelgreen and Oak Lawn School District 126 are in any danger.

“There are no immediate threats at the local level,” Alsip Deputy Chief Christopher Radz said of the series of e-mail attacks that have flowed into district officials’ in-boxes.

One writer said he hoped Osama bin Laden would attack the school (though he added he hoped it wouldn’t happen when children were in the building).

Officers are combing through the communications, attempting to make contact with the sources. They’ve also stepped up security measures around Prairie Junior High, which is at the center of the controversy.

“We’re treating it very seriously,” Radz added. “It’s illegal to transfer threats along electronic communication.”

Local controversy about the book “Fat Kid Rules the World,” by KL Going, erupted earlier this month when the mother of a Prairie Junior High student called on district officials to pull the profanity-laced selection from an eighth-grade summer reading list. School officials stood by the book but agreed they would warn parents of its mature content in the future.

The award-winning teen novel has faced similar challenges elsewhere since it was published in 2004. In each of those instances, the debate about the coming-of-age book has centered on questions about the appropriateness of introducing foul language and sexually suggestive materials to a young audience.

Like in Alsip, individuals and groups with conservative Christian affiliations have fueled the debate by expressing their outrage through mass e-mails and blogs, which suggest Going’s novel is lewd and contributing to the moral decline of America.

“It appears that we are being attacked by one side,” school board member Jerry Mulvihill said of the barrage of information floating around the Internet. Among the criticisms was a statement the Concerned Women of America sent to the Daily Southtown on Tuesday declaring that District 126 is “Guilty of educational malpractice.”

Illinois Family Institute director David Smith defends the challenge as a means for “teaching kids a higher standard, not a lower standard” of values.

In the blogosphere, the debate about the “Fat Kid Rules the World” involves deeply divided camps who use words like “army” and “leftist agenda.”

“You can live in a virtual community, and it can lead an ideology to grow very rapidly,” said Eric Meyer, a communications professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The divisiveness is particularly troubling to Mulvihill.

“We want to see a balanced approach about solving this problem,” he said.

Since the book’s appropriateness was called into question, district officials have begun creating a selection criteria policy for the district, he said. They also have agreed to send reviews and information alerting parents to mature content that may arise in future recommended reading materials.

“This is a serious issue for us to address what kind of materials are acceptable for our schools,” Mulvihill said.

Angela Caputo may be reached at
or (708) 633-5993.

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