Violence in Writing

Thanks to Cool Cat Teacher for this link.

With the fallout of the Virginia Tech event, creative writing teachers are trying to figure out just how to handle writers who write about violence. Ed Falco, director of Tech’s creative writing program, came up with the idea of creating guidelines for writing teachers. The article suggests:

Frequency of violence in student writings can be a sign that a student may be troubled, though the guidelines, which have not been approved by the university, caution that violent behavior cannot be predicted by writing alone. The document encourages professors to follow their instincts and take a measured and conservative approach to dealing with disturbing writing.

It goes on to say:

The document suggests faculty concerned about a student’s writing follow a series of steps: speaking to the student, encouraging the student to seek counseling and involving university administrators.

So what do you think as writing teachers? Do we sacrifice writing freedom for safety? Or do we “follow … instincts?” Is there some happy middle ground? Are we all too worried about an isolated incident?

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