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Westborough Teacher Resigns Over Eminem Video Controversy 24:59
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Rapper Eminem performs at the 2010 BET awards. (AP)
Rapper Eminem performs at the 2010 BET awards. (AP)

Sara Jordan was hoping to provoke discussion in the classroom about popular media. But when the seventh-grade teacher from Westborough showed a brief video clip to her class of the song "Superman," by the rapper Eminem, she provoked a whole lot more than just discussion. For her troubles, Jordan was suspended and the local police launched an investigation.

Eminem is known for his sexually explicit lyrics. His song "Superman" shows the rapper and a woman undressing and getting into bed together. The clip that Jordan showed her students was edited. It included no nudity and no sound so that the students didn't hear the lyrics. But apparently they didn't have to. At least one student told his or her parents about it.

Before you could say "parental involvement," Jordan was suspended and the local police were investigating a charge of disseminating obscene material to a child under 14.

The police have dropped the investigation. But Jordan has quit. She came into Radio Boston to talk about why she quit and about her decision to show the video in the first place.

Was she wrong? Or was this a case of an over-protective community over-reacting? When is it okay to show middle school kids controversial material in the classroom? When is it not?

Guests:

  • Sara Jordan, former seventh-grade teacher, Gibbons Middle School, Westborough
  • Maureen Kay Sigler, lecturer in Education, Brown University
  • MaryJo Kurtz, editor, Westborough Patch

This segment aired on June 20, 2011.

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