In Colorado Springs, a bizarre high school assignment forced students to recite sexually explicit “poetry” that also included worship of the pagan god Moloch.
Ryan Ayala, a teacher at Steamboat Springs High School, chose to teach the poem “Howl” written by Allen Ginsberg for a class in Music Literature. The poem was in a book that had been approved by the school board but the approved edition intended to be used to teach minors censored out inappropriate words. Ayala had the students fill in the missing words.
Students were also asked to review a song that talked about sexting (sending and receiving text messages containing sexual content) and offering sexual favors to a teenager.
A letter of complaint was filed with the school by Brett Cason, the father of Skylar, a 16-year-old female student.
“Students should never feel shame and guilt as part of an assignment at school,” Jeremy Dys, First Liberty special counsel for litigation and communications, representing Cason, told Fox News.
“In the age of MeToo and Harvey Weinstein, it’s hard for me to understand why Superintendent [Brad] Meeks would think requiring teenage girls to meditate on a song normalizing sexting would be acceptable,” Dys added. “If they want to teach on controversial materials, they can, but they should warn parents and give them an opportunity to choose an alternative assignment.”
On Monday, the school district issued a statement apologizing that “parents were not given advance notice that would have allowed them to opt their child out of participating” in a work he described as “considered controversial by some for its use of expletives and portrayals and descriptions of sexual matters.”
Meeks said the district is working to make sure teachers are aware of “proper procedures around incorporating controversial materials” and follow them, as well as giving alternative assignments for students who opt out.
“We do believe that what occurred this fall was simply an oversight as a result of not understanding the policy,” Meeks wrote. “We regret if members of our community were offended.”
Howl was Ginsberg’s most famous poem. Ostensibly a criticism of what he saw as the destructive forces of capitalism and conformity in the United States, it became the subject of an obscenity trial in 1957, as it described heterosexual and homosexual sex.
In addition to the graphic references to sexual practices and the use of illicit drugs like Peyote and benzedrine, the poem also refers to “Mohammedan angels” and forms of paganism. A large section of the poem praises the pagan god Moloch.
Rabbinical tradition depicted Moloch as a bronze statue heated with fire into which the victims, usually children and infants, were thrown.