School district pulls dictionaries for ‘oral sex’ | Jacket Copy | Los Angeles Times

Posted on January 25, 2010


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School district pulls dictionaries for ‘oral sex’

January 24, 2010 |  8:39 am


Menifee school district in Riverside County has removed the 10th edition of the Merriam-Webster Dictionary from all school shelves after a parent complained about a student running across "oral sex" in its pages. The Press-Enterprise reports:

School officials will review the dictionary to decide if it should be permanently banned because of the "sexually graphic" entry, said district spokeswoman Betti Cadmus.

The move did not sit well with everyone. One parent told the paper that it is incumbent upon parents to be able to answer children's questions in a way that's age-appropriate. A member of the school board suggested it should be up to the board, not individual parents, to set policy.

The online version of Merriam-Webster's dictionary includes a definition for "oral sex." It reads:

Main Entry: oral sex
Function: noun
Date: 1973

: oral stimulation of the genitals : cunnilingus, fellatio

Peter Scheer, executive director of the California First Amendment Coalition, told the Associated Press, "common sense seems to be lacking in this school."

— Carolyn Kellogg

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Comments (2)

"…it is incumbent upon parents to be able to answer children's questions in a way that's age-appropriate."
And that answer will be what? "None of your business," perhaps?
As if kids are going to be comfortable running up to their parents to ask about it. Do the parents who object prefer it to remain a phrase learned on the street, and defined by schoolyard peers?
Can I submit a list of words I don't like, to be removed from the dictionary, too?

Posted by: moi | January 24, 2010 at 09:56 AM

It's pretty ridiculous to pull a dictionary because it contains a phrase some find objectionable. The Bible contains some naughty stuff, too, by the way.
I went to a religious school and asked what "adultery" meant, since it was listed among the Ten Commandments. I was told it meant "acting like an adult." That commandment didn't make sense in that context and definition, so I looked up "adultery" in the dictionary. At that age I thought sex was yucky anyway, so I wasn't titillated.
P.S. – I'm betting most kids can't ask their parents about oral sex, so they'll learn it on the street and get inaccurate information.

Posted by: ed | January 25, 2010 at 02:10 AM

This is another absurd example of sex-phobic censorship.

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