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Masturbation Story Gets Teacher Suspended

A very popular 11th grade English teacher was suspended last week because he handed out a short story by Fight Club author Chuck Palahniuk. The story was called “Guts” and is a cautionary tale about teens experimenting with masturbation techniques.

The story is pretty graphic and is full of strong imagery. Aside from the obvious literary value of the story, there is also strong social value. The story is from the point of view of a young teen who hears rumors of various bizarre masturbation techniques from his older brother. He talks about two of them in graphic detail and the disastrous effects that these two people who tried them experienced. Then he goes on and talks about the one that he tried and the disastrous consequences it had on his life.

The Bronx High School teacher collected the copies of the story from his students at the end of class. Nevertheless, word of the story got out and the principal transferred the teacher to administrative duties while an investigation began. He was suspended last week. 30 year old, Greg Van Voorhis has taught at the school for 7 years and has had a reputation for “pushing the envelope.”

Now why was he suspended? The story discusses masturbation. So what? These are 11th graders from the Bronx. Statistically speaking, most of them have already had sex. If masturbation were discussed in a health class, would that be a problem? Well, according to some people, yes. But again the issue is why?

It is not that this teacher had his students read this story so that he could get his jollies. There is a clear literary component to the story and even if there wasn’t, the story is a cautionary tale about a teen and about teen issues. Is it graphic? You bet. Is it educational? Absolutely.

Students and teachers of the school have set up a facebook page in support of Mr. V. as his students call him. You can also read the story “Guts” by Chuck Palahniuk, here.

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  • http://corporations8mybaby.wordpress.com/ Corp8MyBaby

    They’re under 18. You can’t do that. It’s not about religion.

    • http://www.dangeroustalk.net Staks

      Why not?

  • http://www.myspace.com/itsahicke Her3tiK

    People are too uptight about this kind of thing. I mean really, by high school (11th grade no less), it’s a safe bet that the entire class has masturbated at the very least. I could almost see their point if there were pictures, but these students are almost adults; if they can’t be mature about it, whose fault is that?

  • Derynie

    They probably had more problem with the anal play than the actual masturbation. Say one thing about a guy doing something with his ass, and now it’s a gay issue. Because, as we all know, reading about someone doing something sexual to their ass turns you gay. And as we all know, being gay is like the worst thing that could ever be. (Yes, the last two sentences were sarcastic in tone).

    The story turned my stomach a bit, especially that last bit with the chewing your way out of a trap imagery. I’m sure that’s what the author had in mind. Do I think a seventeen year old should be able to handle the story? Yep. Do I think the teacher was out of his mind for making them read it? Yep. Because in the end, you’re having to please the parents, not the student body and you’ll always get that one student who finds something like that story offensive and will have to cry to mommy and daddy for help instead of personally approaching the teacher with his qualms.

    I mean, come on, with all of the graphically violent video games and movies out there, a seventeen year old couldn’t handle a short story? Better make him stick to Harry Potter and Twilight and leave Stephen King to us “grown ups”.

  • http://www.myspace.com/DD_NU4EVER Diana

    It was definitely scary to read this. I’ve always been afraid to swim near the bottom of the pull for that very reason. I don’t want my hair to get stuck…I never thought about my ass getting stuck…no more cannon balls for me! lol, joking, your butt doesn’t hit the bottom of the pool doing a cannon ball.

    I might share this story with my little brother…he’s twelve, these kids in the story were about thirteen…I know my older brother’s started seeking phallic pleasure about eleven and ten…because that’s when all the hand lotion and hair conditioner started going missing…my mom was all pissed and my brother’s hands were supper soft and smelt like my mom’s hair.

    lol, my advice to the little ones is to stick with the golden oldies :-)

    • http://www.myspace.com/DD_NU4EVER Diana

      Oh, yeah, forgot, I think it’s a good story to share with kids who could learn from it, but I also think the teacher should have known better…anything that has anything to do with sex and underage kids is bad for business…

      If the teacher wanted to share this story with kids he could have done it indirectly in some way…get sneaky with it, you know. Or maybe he should teach college instead of high school.

  • http://www.myspace.com/rothtalltales Tralf

    The Puritanical tendencies of our society just won’t give up the ghost. To pretend that these “children” know nothing of spanking the monkey by age 16-17 is preposterous. Most of us are practiced bishop polishers by age 15. But ask any parent and they’ll insist “oh, not my little boy or girl.” Yes, your little boy or girl. It’s part of being human. We all have icky human parts and we are wired to touch them now and then. Get over it, you throwbacks to the 1600s.

    Randy

  • Diana

    It’s gross to think about it but human’s start pleasuring themselves as soon as they can reach that area…I’m talking two and three year olds fiddling with their bits… it’s weird but true.

    Humans play with themselves their whole lives, even the prudest of the prudes. (The pope touches his bishop, lol) It’s just not until the teenage years that we become inventive. Masturbating is no longer the occasional wondering hand into pants or while bathing, but a mission with an ideal end result in mind.

    I have no illusions…I can’t now. After taking several classes on human sexuality, I can tell you without any doubt that kids are not asexual, and they are not sexual objects either, they’re just young humans and as such they seek to optimize the good things and decrease unpleasantries. Good things include eating sweets, watching cartoons, playing outside, and the occasional wandering hand in pants. Unpleasantries include veggies, crust on bread, yelling parents and going to church on Sunday…:)

    Honesty with children is best and I think this story frames the kind of honesty we should be having this our kids. Just sit down with little Timmy and say, “I know you like touching yourself, and it’s not bad. Just do it in private and before you go beyond simply touching talk to me or your father about it first, to make sure it’s safe” …I don’t want my kid shoving carrots up his ass…what if he doesn’t make it smooth enough, a rough edge could slice him open…bad things could happen….

    Contrary to what most religions tell us, sexuality is not evil, but without transparency it could be very dangerous. It’s simply human nature. Ignoring it, calling it evil and banning the discussion of it from school is putting our children in danger. My guess is that most parents are not willing to tell their children that masturbating is not only ok, but a sign of a healthy sexuality. Kids need to hear about this stuff somewhere…if not from a trusted teacher, or a parent, who?