Defining censorship

Dictionary pulled from school shelves for definition of “oral sex”

Last week, a Menifee Union School District in Southern California pulled the Merriam-Webster dictionary off every school shelf after a parent complained about a child stumbling across the definitions for “oral sex.” This was done without consulting the school board, and has divided the town into what appears to be a brewing battle over free speech. “If a public school were to remove every book because it contains one word deemed objectionable to some parent, then there would be no books at all in our public libraries,” said Peter Scheer, executive director of the California First Amendment Coalition. Others believe that the collegiate dictionaries—in use for grades four and five—have no place in the classroom. Oh, and for the record, the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines oral sex as “oral stimulation of the genitals,” and first appeared in the dictionary back in 1973.

Toronto Star