Monthly Archives: September 2010

Laurie Halse Anderson’s SPEAK Silenced

If you haven’t followed the blogosphere, you might not know about this article that appeared in Springfield, Missouri’s News-Leader where Dr. Wesley Scroggins calls Anderson’s SPEAK “pornographic” and “smut.”

After 16 years teaching in a high school and 41 years living, I’ve seen plenty of young women destroyed by the SILENCE of date rape. Speak helped and is still helping remedy that outrage.
Unfortunately, the students of Republic ISD no longer have access to the book through their library. It’s been banned.

Anderson’s blog on the topic has sparked so much discussion I’m stunned.

The only way we’re ever going to stop date rape is by making sure every victim knows they’re not to blame and they have the right to TELL. We’ve got to stop letting the CRIMINALS win. Rape is a sex CRIME. It’s ugly and vile and destructive. Speak helps give girls the voice to say “this happened to me and you did it, and I won’t stand by and let you do it again.”

I wrote my letters to the admin of Republic ISD. When I did, I included this latest research that shows how pervasive a problem date rape is:

Teen dating violence most often takes place in the home of one of the partners. One in five of dating couples report some type of violence in their relationship. One of five college females will experience some form of dating violence. A survey of 500 young women, ages 15 to 24, found that 60 percent were currently involved in an ongoing abusive relationship and all participants had experienced violence in a dating relationship. One study found that 38 percent of date rape victims were young women from 14 to 17 years of age. A survey of adolescent and college students revealed that date rape accounted for 67 percent of sexual assaults.

Sixty-eight percent of young women raped knew their rapist either as a boyfriend, friend or casual acquaintance. Six out of 10 rapes of young women occur in their own home or a friend or relative’s home, not in a dark alley. More than four in every 10 incidents of domestic violence involves non-married persons (Bureau of Justice Special Report: Intimate Partner Violence, May 2001; other statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice).

Read more:

I ended my letters with this:

Don’t let the silence continue to hurt our teenagers. Read Speak, have your family members and maybe even someone from your clergy read it, then make a decision based on the actual content. If you still feel it is dangerous for your students, you must do as you see fit. But before you make any permanent decisions, google the response and see how many young women have been touched by the book. How it helped them reclaim their lives after a crime they’ve often had to pay several-fold for and are now paying for again.

I have no idea if the campaign to put Speak on the shelves will make a difference in Republic, but I hope and pray it keeps it on other shelves.

Stop the Silence. SPEAK!

Clocks Ticking: an original short by me

“Boom, Bam, what a man, what a man, what a mighty good man.”
I twirl in front of the mirror, my black lacy skirt flying out around my knees, teasing, tempting, promising a maybe more.
The black material matching the black sky, hiding the real me and my insecurities. Just like the song. And the vodka tonic in my right hand. More vodka. Less tonic. OK, no tonic. Just pure, clear Skye Vanilla. My new favorite.
I have to go.
I want to go.
I want to go, go, go.
Lie, lie, lie, LIES.
All of it.
I don’t want to go. I don’t want to do anything but sluice my way back to my empty room and hide under the down comforter that no longer comforts but reminds me that one is the loneliest number.
My iPod alarm beeps, laughing at me with its shrill warning. Ten minutes.
What am I doing?
I look in the mirror a little too closely. Something I no longer allow myself to do because the lines around my eyes remind me that 40-something was no time to start dating again.
Damn him for leaving me alone. Do not cry, do not cry, do not…
My drink sloshes on my hand, relieving the reverie of do not’s, and I set it on the dresser, right where the picture, our picture, used to rest.
Maybe one day I’ll dig it out from the bottom of the drawer I’d relegated happier times to.
Or maybe not.
I step back from the mirror, find a shadowy place that will let my refection lie.
Let me lie.
I want to go. I have to go. I will go.
The mantra bangs away in my brain as I search for my left shoe. High heels. New. Ridiculously expensive. Mall therapy that didn’t really work. When I’d bought them, I’d thought of warm, fuzzy, exciting, explosive love.
There. I stick my foot under the bed and drag the red leather out with my toes. Then slide my newly painted toenails in, resting the arch of my foot, encasing the heel. The hot pink nails peep out, shiny like the shoes. Both lying, like the dress.
I rub the empty place where my ring used to be and take a deep breath.
He was my everything. My always. He would’ve hated the shoes.
I laugh then. Really laugh. And wonder if maybe I am a little crazy now.
I love the shoes. Love them in a warm, fuzzy, explosive way. Which was the only warm, fuzzy, explosive love left for me.
I understand that. Even as I’d said yes, I’d understood.
A knock. A knock. A knock, knock, knock.
It’s time.
I take a deep breath and rub my hand over the honest liar, my mirror, then grab my purse and head for the door.
I have to go. I want to go. I will go.
Go, go, go.

A Walk Down Memory Lane

Our walk down the aisle after the ceremony

Brian and I are going to be answering questions about marriage in 18:26 tomorrow.
The ministry director, Kristina, asked us some pretty interesting questions for our pre-interview. It’ll be interesting. 🙂
We’ve been looking at wedding photos for the last 24 hours, laughing, surprised at what all we’ve forgotten.
It’s going to be fun!

How Great

is our God. I love that song. And the words are so true.
Today was just as busy as every day that came before. In fact, it was first deadline for the new yearbook staff, and randomly the computer quit working like they’re supposed to. It’s not really all that random. We upgraded our software and the server was switched over the summer, so we knew problems might ensue. I thought I’d solved the problems yesterday, and even spent time on the phone with our awesome tech guy making sure everything was good to go. Then today hit. LOL.
The problems were back and then some.
I had a room full of kids half of whom were freaking out because they’ve never been on deadline, and they don’t really know what they’re doing because the only way you really learn is to do it and BAM, the computers stop. Or as one of the girls yelled: “Did that just eat my pictures? It did! The computer ate my pictures. They’re gone.”
Usually when one of the kids yells something like that, I can calm them down, say remember rule #4 (Don’t freak out) and find the missing item.
Not this time.
This time, the computer ate her pictures.
And the server disappeared on one of the machines.
And one of the editors is sick.
And every time the kids try to place a picture the computers alert that the color space isn’t supported.
And we don’t get a budget.
And our yearbook.newspaper bill runs just a little over $80K this year.
But you know what? We had fun. We laughed. We danced. One of the np eds sang,
It was awesome.
I still didn’t get the stuff on my list done. It was OK, though. The list will be there Monday. And prayer is the difference.

Working on a Plan

Let’s face it–my REAL problem is I keep taking on more than I can handle. I volunteered for four preps. My journalism teacher life was going along just fine and I wanted to incorporate video into what I was doing, so when that job came up, I raised my hand like the gold star girl I’ve always tried to be and said, “pick me, pick me.”
I did so even though I’d spent the four years before wondering if I could continue handling yearbook & newspaper and journalism.
Looking back, I can honestly say that was a stupid move.
My friend, Nikki, who taught the video class a couple years earlier told me no way was I going to be able to handle it along with what I already did because she knew me. I don’t just want the kids to read announcements. We’re working on video projects and movies and all sorts of stuff. I want them to be visual story tellers. And, they LIKE that. But the work it takes to get ready for that class cuts into the time I already didn’t have enough of.
Again, I volunteered for this.
I revamped my whole publications program. Hello media team and a beat system and an increase in the pace of production.
I have these amazing kids in my classes. I need to figure out a system that works. Once I figure out the system, life will be good!
On a bright note, a fellow tech teacher and I talked today and ended up asking our principal if we could maybe team teach video. If that happens, it’s a step in the right direction.
Another HUGE step in the right direction: I remembered today that when I get too overwhelmed there’s always an answer. I can’t believe we’re in the fourth week of school this year, and I’m in my 16th year of doing this, and I forget the number one thing to do when it feels like I’m going under. Prayer.
This morning before school, I put my headphones on, cranked up Kari Jobe’s “I’m Singing,” closed my eyes and prayed.
I still felt overwhelmed half way through the day when I realized I hadn’t been able to cross one thing off my list , but when I closed my eyes and prayed, I knew life would be okay.

Where I’ve Been

Or maybe I should say where I’ve not been.
School started and I made the promise to myself I’d be in bed by 9 p.m. so I’d definitely get 8 full hours of sleep.
It wasn’t easy, but the first two weeks, I made the goal. I went to school went to the Y, are dinner, watched 1 show on if I had time, and made it to bed by 9. The third week, I got caught up in a book and missed the goal one night, but until Family Reunion, I was still doing great.
Then last week happened.
I’m not sure if it was the Ruffles we had left over from reunion or what, but for the last 10 days, I’ve been a mess. My schedule’s shot at home AND at school. I’ve been in constant fast forward. Today, by the end of the day when I realized I’d left the Freshman Class Officer Elections off the announcements, I felt like I’d been running a marathon to nowhere. I still made it to Zumba two times last week and once this week, but that’s the only part of the schedule that’s been met at all.
I think my nine bedtime, might be a little on the impossible side, but I’ve really got to get this figured out.