Senate Panel Begins Probe of Literature 2 March 1961

Senate Panel Begins Probe of Literature
Oklahoma City, March 2 [1961] –
Teachers are funneling obscene literature and movies to children, an Oklahoma City insurance man claimed Wednesday as the Senate General Investigating Committee began a study of indecent literature.
Tom Hammer, who said he represented the Parent-Teacher Association of Harding High School here, said a teacher in Tulsa asigned her pupils to read “Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger last spring. Hammer called the novel “a dangerous sex book.”
He said Mrs. Marilyn Parsons showed her students at Oklahoma City Classen High School a film on sex then held a discussion with the pupils.
“Most girls told their mothers they not only got sick but they were very embarrassed,” Hammer said.
Mrs. Beatrice Levin, the Tulsa teacher to whom Hammer referred, resigned from her job as an English instructorat Edison High School last spring after a group of Tulsa parents protested her choice of the Salinger novel as a reading choice for 1th grade students.
While the majority of parents who had children in Mrs. Levin’s class rallied to her support, eight parents maintained the plot of Salinger’s story was not worth presenting for study and that the language was obscene and shocking.
Although school officials announced Mrs. Levin would be retained on the Edison faculty, she resigned because, she said, school officials gave her no backing on her stand concerning her choice of the book.
A best seller, the book was termed “unusually brilliant” by the New York Times, and “…remarkable and absorbing … profoundly moving…” by the Saturday Review.
Hammer recommended that both teachers and Classen principal Garwin Fleming, who defended Mrs. Parsons, be fired.
The investigation was ordered after Sen. Gene Stipe of McAlester waved three magazines at his colleagues and called them “suggestive of immoral conduct.”
The other senators examined the magazines, then agreed they were sexy. Stipe said he bought…