Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Teacher Reprimanded over Book Choice

The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star was suggested as an optional reading in an advanced Psychology course by Jason Galitsky of Hernando High School, Florida.  The teacher has now been reprimanded, the book has been removed, and people aren't happy.

The book is a memoir by Nikki Sixx, a heavy metal star who turned to drugs and fell from the pedestal.  He put the book together using diary entries from the drug days and reflecting back on them as a now-sober adult.  The obvious message here seems to be "Don't Do Drugs."  The message is nothing new, but in order to keep young people informed, the examples need to keep coming forward.  Without the confessions of those who did drugs and know the consequences, there isn't much hope of getting kids to understand without doing it themselves.

Jason Galitsky seems to understand this notion, and so he brought the text forward as an example.  A parent, upon reading from the book, decided that it was inappropriate due to "explicit language, descriptions of drug use and photos."  The thing to remember here is that this is an advanced placement course, practically college level, and this book is too inappropriate?  If any of these students end up with careers in psychology, they will be reading and interacting with people much more difficult than this text.

You can read the whole article here.  What do you think?  Do you agree that books with drugs in them should be kept away from students?  Do you think that the students will be too distracted by the drug use to get the main message of the text?


  1. I sooooo agree with you. This is a college class, that I happen to be taking. He is an awesome teacher and I have learned so much. He's only preparing people with the desire to pursue a career in psychology. Problems far worse than that are going to be viewed. Also, the class is only offered to Juniors and Seniors. A LARGE percent of those seniors are 18. I thought this was so silly when I heard about it. He's a very effective teacher. I like your view of this way more than anyone else's (:

  2. Thanks so much for your comment. It means a lot knowing that people are reading this and that I'm not just rambling into space. I wish that teens, especially older teens in high school, were given a bit more freedom to read things that are edgy or that cover grittier topics. Hiding these realities isn't going to help anyone. And hopefully, if more people feel the way you do, Mr. Galitsky will be able to finally provide a thought-provoking optional reading list for students.