Erotic philosophy to be deleted from ninth-grade text

Herald staff

BELLEVUE — Officials at Interlake High School are taking knives to their textbooks after ninth-graders were mistakenly assigned readings from the Kama Sutra.

A supplemental textbook, "The Global Experience, Readings in World History to 1500," is used in three ninth-grade honors classes. A substitute teacher assigned the four-page excerpt from the ancient Indian work on eroticism and spirituality, thinking it went with the students’ unit on Eastern philosophy.

"We’re going to use an X-Acto knife and take those pages out," said Ann Oxrieder, school district spokeswoman.

Rather than recall the books at once, school staff will excise the pages as students return the books or bring them to class.

The Kama Sutra is considered a classic text on the link between physical love and spirituality and is a reflection of India’s cultural values during the fourth century.

  • Gift from Gates: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is giving more than $5 million to put the Internet in more than 300 libraries in Chile. The program, announced Tuesday, would put an estimated 1,200 computers in the libraries and would pay for librarians’ Internet training. Microsoft Corp., which Bill Gates co-founded in 1975, will separately give $1.2 million in software. The foundation said it picked Chile to take part in the program because it has a history of encouraging open access to libraries. Chilean President Ricardo Lagos said the program would help his country anticipate global economic changes and educate its people. The 300 libraries are located throughout the country, from the capital, Santiago, to outlying towns in the Patagonia mountains. The foundation has similar programs in North America and the United Kingdom. It has awarded $77 million to 5,300 libraries in the United States, according to foundation data. The libraries are in communities where at least 10 percent of the population lives in poverty.

  • School security at issue: The Seattle school district is scrutinizing security at an alternative school after a second-grade girl reported being sexually assaulted by a man in a school restroom last month. A district spokesman said the principal of Tops Alternative School alerted parents soon after the incident was reported. Parents received a second letter Monday to answer lingering concerns about the case. The school, in the city’s Eastlake neighborhood, now has a full-time security guard, and students are using a buddy system when going to the bathroom.

  • Bristly standoff: A man awaiting trial on a charge of first-degree murder was subdued by pepper spray after he took another inmate hostage and held a slightly sharpened toothbrush to his neck in a cell at the Yakima County jail. The inmate was ordered to drop the toothbrush twice, but refused. A jail supervisor grabbed the man’s wrist and slapped his face before corrections officers sprayed the man with pepper foam, county corrections officials said Tuesday. The toothbrush had been rubbed on concrete but wasn’t sharp enough to inflict any damage, and the bristles were still intact, officials said. No one was hurt. The hostage-taker demanded a number of things during the Monday evening incident, including a laptop computer and a cellular phone. He also wanted for himself and the hostage a couple of cheeseburgers, french fries and Dr Peppers from Jack in the Box, plus two packs of cigarettes. The hostage, 20, is in jail for promoting prostitution.

  • Good, bad and muddy: What began as a high-speed car chase here early Tuesday turned into a slow-motion slog through waist-deep mud after a suspect fleeing from a Thurston County sheriff’s deputy picked the wrong way to run. Officials said the chase began after a driver tried to get away from a deputy making a routine traffic stop. The driver eventually sped off, with the deputy’s patrol car in pursuit. When another deputy cornered the driver on the aptly named Mud Bay Bridge, the suspect jumped 40 feet off the bridge into shallow water and began running across the mudflats below. The run soon turned into a walk and then a crawl. By the time the deputy and a helpful fisherman caught up with the suspect, all three were waist-deep in mud. Olympia Fire Department rescuers laid a path of plywood boards to free the men. The suspect, Darren L. Crombie, 31, of Olympia, was treated at a hospital for facial injuries, then jailed on a felony warrant for possessing stolen property, police said. The deputy and the fisherman, 39-year-old Matt Mar of Seattle, were not hurt. Authorities said they found methamphetamines and a number of car stereos in the sports utility vehicle Crombie was driving.
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