Academic journal article Journal of Information Ethics

(Don't) Pull the Trigger

Academic journal article Journal of Information Ethics

(Don't) Pull the Trigger

Article excerpt

Educators apparently cared little for students and their feelings in the past, because they failed to warn them concerning upsoming traumatic material. But of course this is nonsense. More than ten years ago, I taught The Long Walk in a university honors course on travel literature. I told the class that the first hundred pages were extremely difficult and unpleasant and if they liked they could simply skip the horrors. My wife taught Holocaust and genocide studies in general university classes but also in courses devoted exclusively to the subject. She always began with a warning that the material was horrific and traumatizing and if students did not think they could handle it (I could not), they could drop the class.

How people who have dedicated themselves to the education of our youth can be so insensitive to those who have suffered emotional, psychological, or physical trauma, who have seen friends or relatives maimed or killed, who have been imprisoned or tortured or kidnapped or sexually abused or raped, who have killed their own grandparents (as a student of mine some 50 years ago accidentally did), can fail to appreciate the necessity for a caring attitude, can fail to merely indicate that reading (or viewing) Painted Bird or Naked Lunch or American Pscho or Psychopathia Sexualis or Saving Private Ryan might result in a nervous breakdown or suicide is something I simply cannot comprehend. …

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