Sexually Explicit Homework Causes Uproar In Queens

Parent Furious After Odd Assignment Upsets Teen Girl

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — It was one assignment students in Queens will not soon forget.

The scandalous schoolwork was loaded with sexually explicit material, and as CBS 2’s John Metaxas found out students were given a book with some very racy reading.

Sixteen-year-old Giavanna Grasso got the shock of her life Monday.

The junior at Robert Goddard High School in Ozone Park was asked to find descriptive language in a passage of literature for her digital arts English class. But to her surprise she found herself reading explicit, sexually oriented and vulgar language that included a crude joke about animals.

“It was saying that hoe the only way the rat will do something for the elephant is if he does sexual favors for him and as I’m reading on there are words like ‘diaphragm,’” Grasso said.

The passage was from “The Rules of Attraction,” a dark novel by Bret Easton Ellis that focuses on three sexually promiscuous college students. But it made Giavanna uncomfortable.

“I told my mom because I didn’t know what else to do. Should I continue to read this? Because I don’t know how much further it was going to get,” Giavanna said.

Her mother, Melissa Naprawa, was outraged.

“The sexual content was very explicit. I felt like I was reading porn,” Naprawa said. “I can’t even fathom that the teacher would use this in a curriculum.”

She immediately called the school, but administrators had left for the day.

“There’s nothing that can be taken away from this except for disgustedness,” Naprawa said.

And according to Giavanna, other students got different passages, some of which were worse.

The Department of Education, responding to Metaxas’ inquiry, issued a statement saying simply: “The book is not part of the curriculum and will no longer be used.”

But at least one mother was still angry.

“That does me no good because children have already been exposed to it,” Naprawa said.

When school opens Tuesday morning officials will have a lot of explaining to do. They’ll be confronted with an irate mother who wants some answers.

The Department of Education said the teacher who assigned the work was a substitute and will not be at school Tuesday.

  • RealTalkk

    Sounds like Giavanna just didn’t want to do homework..

  • Walter

    WOW! Only 9 kids in the class?

  • Alice

    “There’s nothing that can be taken away from this except for disgustedness,” Naprawa said.

    Maybe the mother could stand to pick up a book sometime…

  • Ron

    The real tragedy here…….the mother’s eyebrows! LOL

  • steven

    listen mrs your child have been exposed to more that this before she have read the book, because in my days as a high school student by the time our so year everyone knew about these kind of things so what i basically a mother who is clue less and don’t want to wake up to reality this is the real world that we are living in. I’m pretty sure that your daughter may or may not have had a boyfriend and knows more that she is telling you. Basically you guys just over reacted, and the teacher who did this i see no wrong because your child may know alot more that she is saying.

  • John

    Diaphragm- a dome-shaped, muscular partition separating the thorax from the abdomen in mammals. It plays a major role in breathing, as its contraction increases the volume of the thorax and so inflates the lungs.


  • Ronald R x01

    that girl has one said and seen somethings that are much worst than that book and she over reacted for attention

  • Nova S.

    Personally, I think she blew the whole thing out of proportion. First off, I know she’s done things worse that “read” a sexual book since I also go to the same high school. Secondly, she’s 16. Haven’t sixteen year old’s been preaching that they’re adults now? If she was an adult, she would have been mature enough to handle whatever she read. Thanks to her, one of my favorite English teachers have just been fired. She wasn’t a bad teacher, quite the opposite in fact! She was a fantastic teacher! Thanks to Gia, she’ll have trouble looking for a job for the rest of her life.

    Great going.

  • Jon

    Lose-Lose situation.

    It’s pointless to be enraged because the teacher was a substitute, it won’t happen again, and you can’t exactly have the principal punished. Substitutes are picked on the as need basis and often there isn’t enough time to do dutiful background checks.

    Besides the person probably could have a clean background and still recommend that kind of racy material to students because he/she feels it has immense education value.

    I had to read stuff like that and went to a catholic school but then again I am a male and probably am not as sensitive or do not care. LOL

    For future reference let a warning be issued, and an alternative reading be proposed for those with more sensitive eyes.

  • Rise & Shine: Foreclosure crisis taking toll on city students | GothamSchools

    […] A Queens HS student is complaining about sexually explicit content in her assigned reading. (CBS) […]

  • Michelle

    I have to say that I disagree with the parent, the student, the situation, and every person crucifying this teacher and school.

    I’ve read “The Rules of Attraction”, and it is not a book that is solely about sex, nor would I label it an “immoral sex book”. The majority of the book involves characters struggling with their own identities, relationships and personal issues. Yes, sex comes into it. Yes, it’s a bit racy at times. But what kind of message are we sending teens by telling them that the way to deal with sex is just to magically learn about it one day and sweep it under the rug until then? Isn’t it better that they see it in a literary context where it isn’t the center of the discussion and discuss it in an educational forum than they watch The Jersey Shore, or get mixed messages by seeing Miley Cyrus wear a purity ring one minute and hump a pole in her underpants the next?

    Before I’m inevitably attacked for my low sense of moral fiber, let it be stated that I never experimented with sex, drugs or the like in high school. I read books with people doing so, and I focused on the grander themes of the story rather than immaturely rolling my eyes and saying, “EW – they’re having SEX!” See, because my parents were responsible enough to teach me about all of that themselves; they didn’t feel so insecure in how they brought me up that they felt they had to go attack the world for presenting me with what it will. It’s this kind of forced ignorance on the youth of our culture that causes so many teen pregnancies. There’s a whole world hidden from teens and they catch glimpses of it on TV, but are afraid to ask educated questions, so they wind up secretly giving in to urges and getting themselves pregnant at sixteen.

    My point – you can’t make a person “moral” by hiding the world from them. It’s out there. If a person’s truly moral, their attitudes and beliefs won’t be shaken by a book. If parents are doing their jobs, then something like this should be, in no way, threatening.

    And, as a final point, I don’t get one thing…HOW OLD are these kids? High school JUNIORS?!?! In two years, they’ll start college – if they take any college level course in literature, film, drama or liberal arts, they’re bound to be exposed to material that is, at the very least, similar to this. Should universities start reading the Arthur series just to satisfy hysterical parents? Really, you would think from this article that this book was presented to children who are in the first grade. These are young adults. If they can read Twilight, watch Jersey Shore or invest in any of these pop culture references, they can read The Rules of Attraction.

    • alex

      Friggin BRAVO!

  • Alexa

    She’s uncomfortable reading the word “diaphragm?” I don’t think they need to change the reading material – I think they need to change the sex ed.

  • humbleforest

    Dear Global Friends,
    Please go to the root of the person who wrote this immoral sexual book or the authority who gave the permission to be published and sold.
    Today the world is packed with immoral sexual activities where women are forced into prostitution or as human trade. Can justice truly wash-off these activities ?

  • Jedidiah Ddoboozilye

    It all depends on the value system that is held by the educational starndards authorities. If the absolutes are no longer absolute then everything goes. But even when the education system has been highjacked by wicked men and women and the godly principles of molarity no longer count, believe me God will still have a remnant.

  • Kemi

    A life without something concrete like a God to believe in, is a very Empty Life. If at 16 the students should be exposed to sexually explicit novels, is it the responsiility of the school to force it on them.

    Life is in stages, at the right time the girl would loose her virginity on her own terms and be exposed to whatever kind of sexual acts. The school should not be pointing the way to quick sex by encouraing them to use their imaginations with novels like this.

    it is a shame the world is fast loosing its sense of morality. it indicates a problem in the future

  • al p. rodriguez

    kidding aside, the school should act as censors with this kind of materials because we need to protect our children against this forms of harrassment

  • humbleforest

    Dear Global Friends,

    It is excellent for a brave student like Miss Giavanna Grasso to dare expose this illicit sexual misconduct book that may spoil the minds of other students and societies.
    It is such a good moral example for others to follow like her to expose those immoral people who feel no shame to influence others with their impure knowledge.

  • al p. rodriguez

    yeah. maybe her mother does not know that her daughter lost her virginity at age 12.

  • Nicola S.

    Cool down folks,,,
    your Bible contains so much more pron that that of the book in question; so spare us the drama please,,,

  • Stephan

    More stupid American nonsense. The daughter sounds like a robot who’s been programmed by her puritanical mother. This is the kind of stupidness that makes it hard for Americans to travel.

  • Michael

    Yeah be angry..some people have lost their sense of decency. Time to give them reality check.

  • Chris G.

    Heaven forbid when this girl has to read “Catcher in the Rye”…
    Ok, the substitute teacher no longer works at the school, the book will no longer be used at the school and the mother says “that’s not good enough”? What else is there to do short of erasing these kid’s minds? Is she trying to file a lawsuit? God I hope not…

  • Alex

    Amazing and ONLY in America could this article raise such “Offended” comment….
    Bill f and Patrick have it spot on…..You too John.
    These are NOT “children” but young adults that are often ill prepared to go out in life but usually NOT so innocent of this sort of material… Just attend a local high school or as Kavaone remarked, listen to half of the current popular music. You will find that unless this is in “Borne Again” territory, nothing in this author’s writings that is particularly new or shocking. I can only imagine that those who protest so loudly are also the ones vocal about Sex Education and then left wondering why teenage pregnancy occurs. More information not less is the answer and some attentive parenting; if you have been open and giving as well as living your creed than you have nothing to worry about for your children and their ability to make their own Life Choices…. Whether you agree or not..!

  • Edward L

    At what age should we allow students to be exposed to the realities, even the ugly realities, of the world in which they must live?
    Innocence is a beautiful thing, but it is inadequate preparation for confronting the problematic nature of our society.
    Was this an appropriate venue for this literature? Probably not, as its sexually explicit nature was likely of greater interest to the students than its literary contribution. But at least they read it, and one can judge from their response whether they are mature enough to cope with such subject matter.
    Childhood does not last forever. Sooner or later one needs to be inoculated with depictions of life as expressed by contemporary authors. They need this because as students they are learning about the world in all its glory and all its wretchedness. Perspectives and modes of expression are varied in our society. Exposure to them is not to subscribe to them, but rather to come to understand them.
    However, some preparation in the form of an R rating or a warning that the assignment will include sexually explicit or controversial material would allow the students to prepare themselves for the content or to opt out of it if they believed it would be offensive to their personal sensitivities.

  • Phil

    Our kids are exposed to a lot…definitely. But that doesn’t mean we should tolerate it being taught to them. By 16, kids are very exposed to things of a sexual nature in their day to day lives, but it doesn’t mean we turn the other cheek, shrug and say Oh Well….
    As far as the average rap lyric comment….please don’t start…the media swears that rap is the cause of all that is evil in this country and geniuses like you are clueless…many types of music have negative and positive messages. Teach your children what is right from wrong people!!! They will be exposed to a lot in the world, where we can’t be with them every second. What we teach them at home is vital!

  • David

    16 years old. Not 13 or 12 but 16. Remind me again what age it is we send people off to kill and be killed half a world away.

    People have some very strange priorities if this is what upsets them so

  • kavaone

    isn’t any different than the average rap lyric. big deal

  • aria

    Amazing author he may be, appropriate for schools he is not.

  • aria

    It’s the loss of innocence I’m sure. The passages the girl was given to read depicted sexual acts, drunken threesomes where the girl couldn’t remember who she lost her virginity to and innapropriate use of a diaphragm. You can’t in-read something, un-see something, etc. As a parent its our choice as to what our children are exposed to, there’s a v-chip in your tv for a reason, there’s parental controls and blocking on the computer, there’s ratings on movies and video games.. why? So we, as parents can control what our kids are exposed to.

  • John

    Bret Easton Ellis is an amazing author, lets censor our children more shall we.

  • JA

    If this girl in question enjoys depravity on the TV, why did she complain? If depravity is the least concern of the parent, why did the mom complain? bill f and Patrick should not stress logic. My goodwill to Melissa Naprawa and daughter!

  • Rob

    That is why homeschool is the only option. At least the children will not be lied to in History class….Exposed to porn in English…Kill themselves because the other children make fun of them while the administration does nothing.

    • Alex

      yeah they’ll kill themselves when they enter the REAL WORLD.

      Give me a break. If you breed kids that can’t hack the social structure of school, then they’re not going to be able to make much of anything. Sheltering your kids to the point of hindering day-to-day knowledge is just lethal and wrong.

      And what’s the point of teaching your child the values of right and wrong when you don’t allow them to make decisions without mommy and daddy?

      • Michelle

        Amen! Common sense is a beautiful thing!

  • Substitute Teacher

    Of course if it involved the Bible or a Christian author, the ACLU & others would have sued the teacher, school, etc.

    • InnocentLittleBoy

      The Bible, dear sir/madam is even MORE sexually explicit. Murders, adultery, thinly veiled descriptions of sexual intercourse, rape, incest, slaughter of man, woman, children, animals, wanton destruction, war, you name it.

  • aria

    It’s somthing as an adult I would have been offended by having been given this as an assignment. As a parent I’m outraged, there is no way our children should be exposed to such filth. The exerpt that they have shown for the article is the least graphic and sexually explict part this girl was given. (i have had the liberty to read what she was given).

  • Patrick

    Well put Bill, children are exposed to much worse in the public school system itself than they are from some literary piece in school. Such a thing are the least of the parent’s concern.

  • jesse

    believe it or not… not everyone watches trash on tv or uses the internet for porn.

  • JJ

    I was a substitute, I never gave work that wasn’t left from the teacher for the kids to work on. People ask us why we home school… hmmm??

  • bill f

    Uh, excuse me madam. But your daughter is already exposed to more sexually provactive material on television and on the internet. My guess is this mother is clueless.

    • Ivan

      Really…. are you sick in the head….. in a school system???? where your kids are being educated to do the right things and you compare them to TV…. are u a graduate of GED????

      • Alex

        Just because someone gets a GED doesn’t mean they’re stupid.

        And for the love of GOD, it’s “YOU” not “U”. It’s ‘texting’ and ‘IMing’ that’s rotting the brains of children today. English comprehension levels have plummeted in children because of obnoxious short-hand so THANK YOU by continuing to perpetuate the problem.

        They’re reading a -book-. It’s a good book too. I remember being 16 and reading sexually explicit novels that dealt with problems TODAY and taking comfort in them. Books or plays written 100-300 years ago are wonderful and should remain in school, but kids don’t relate to their stories. I also remember that 16 year olds are pretty SAVVY to sex at this point, so please give me a break!

        Would you let your kid, if you have any, read Twilight? A poorly written love story that promotes oppression and Mormon idealism?

        Give me a break. Let the kids read…as long as they’re reading!

    • AP

      bill f man, I wonder if you will answer the same if it was your teenage daughter who brought home the assignment. Unless, your mind is really that depraved.

    • JJ

      Weak, that’s all everybody ever responds with, “its already out there blah blah blah.”

      It doesn’t mean that its okay to show it to kids. There is a difference between a school system that it’s ONLY objective is to benefit children and some sleazy business exec who’s ONLY objective is to make money.

      Use your brain man!

      • detex

        She is 16, hardly a child!

    • Dan

      Bill, that straw man argument holds no water. It does not justify the teachers actions.

    • E. J.

      bill f, if you are a pervert – and that’s the reason for the excessive porn swimming around today owing to the likes of you and your ilk – DO NOT try to explain away a mother’s rage with your flippant views and comments!!! Parents have the right and ARE OBLIGED to voice their consternation at the so called “avantgarde” brand of writing that masquerades as classic literature these days.

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