It has been a bee-filled past few weeks for me. No, I’m not talking out of season honeybees and wasps, but spelling bees!

There has been a spelling bee for the eight and under set at my library, and I have been involved in judging the big, official regional bee for older kids. With all this spelling activity going on, it’s not surprising that there has been a bit of a run on dictionaries.

Which is all well and good, except if a parent in your school district decides that the DICTIONARY is inappropriate for having bad words in it.

My kneejerk reaction is…. seriously? Isn’t that the first thing almost EVERY schoolkid does with the dictionary? Look up the bad words? And it wasn’t even one of the most commonly used so-called four letter words, but the phrase “oral sex.” I highly doubt the whole dictionary was required reading, so it’s most likely any kid who came across anything thus deemed age inappropriate must have been looking for it.

Me, I’d think it was better for kids to get a dry, factual dictionary definition of a sexual act than something of dubious accuracy from their friends in the schoolyard, or the, shall we say wide and varied possibilities Google would provide. But once again, as with all challenges, I come back to the whole idea that every family is going to have their own set of standards as to what is and isn’t appropriate, and yes, that’s up to the parent. But you don’t get to push your values onto the whole class/library/community.

The dictionary is back in the classroom, but parents can opt out and request that their child use a different dictionary.


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