Teen horror writer committed him to a psychiatric ward

Minnesota high school student David Riehm bristled at his creative writing
teacher's stinging comments at the bottom of his assignment.

"David, I am offended by this piece. If this needs to be your subject matter,
you're going to have to find another teacher," Ann Mershon's

The 17-year-old's satirical fable concerned a
boy who awoke from a wet dream, slipped rear-end first onto a toy cone, and then
had his head crushed "in a misty red explosion" under the tires of a school bus.

"I'm actually a little concerned about your obsessive focus on sex and potty
language. Make a change — today!" Mershon warned.

Read the whole article HERE.

As a writer, the attitude of this teacher disturbs me. She's trying to tell him what he is and is not allowed to write. I don't like the idea of a teacher trying to smother a young persons creativity, morbid though it may be.

I remember the first real fiction piece I wrote in 6th grade involved a radioactive wolf that ate babies. My teacher saw the creative effort and encouraged at, he didn't chide me for being a bit morbid.

As for the story he wrote in retaliation, I would much rather see our young and angry teenagers writing stories in retaliation rather than coming into the schools with guns shooting up the place.

Again, in my own personal life I've often written short fictions and/or poems where I murder, maim and mutilate whoever I'm angry with. I'm 24 years old currently, and I've managed to not physically hurt anyone yet.

I would enjoy hearing your opinions of the article, as well as the original essay which you can see (along with the teachers notations) HERE with links to others at the bottom of the page to other essays if you follow the links at the bottom of the page, and the teachers statement HERE.

Personally I think the teacher should use her job.


Steven Sweet said...

It is disturbing when we are told what to think or do. It's even scarier when a school over steps their boundaries like that. I think it's even scarier that the dad let his son be taken away.

Newfie Girl said...

Being a wanna be writer myself, I know what it is like when teachers try to tell you what is right and wrong and what to think, how to write etc..

I'm 33 and I write all kinds of crazy things. I've been writing about sex and murder since I was 12 and I never saw it, didn't know what it was even, I just used my imagination as to what I thought it might or could be. My Mom thought it was wonderful and always embraced my imagination. My Barbie's were always nekid and in bed or killing each other tehe..

I was never abused, never hurt etc, I just had a vivid imagination...

I had wanted to be a teacher. I tutor English however, I refuse to tell someone that a particular classic poem or story means something that makes no sense. I have read school books and poems in high school and I never agreed with what the school or with what the teachers had to say. I always see it my way and I would never tell someone that a particular poem was about this when they don't see it that way. It really stifles children and I felt like I was held back in school and it's wrong. I wasn't embraced. I spent most of the time being bored and failing because I chose to see things differently and I feel like this poor kid is headed in the same direction as I was lead in and it isn't fun being a sheep.
It takes a long time to find yourself and have an identity..


by the way, thank you for allowing me to rent with you this week.. -hugs- I really appreciate it!!!!!!

Cat said...

I have an issue with the subject matter being in high school. If we're talking an adult, which we aren't if he's 17 -- yes I know he's close -- but he's not yet, then I feel he could indeed write anything he felt.

In this case I can see where the teacher felt uncomfortable with the subject matter. Call me 'closed minded' or whatnot, but I don't feel she stifled him by her comments as much as the action after the comments. She simply stated that she wouldn't support his writing.

I'm no stuffy mom but I would want to know if my child was writing this stuff. I would want to know if it was indeed crazy creativity like newfie girl said she had to a point or something deeper bothering him.

I've read the poetry of my now 14 year old and some of it was disturbing. Death and dying, yes. But not at this level.

Just my opinion...I feel that this 17 year old child needs to speak about his motives in writing what he did. There may be quite a back story we don't know about. There's nothing wrong with asking.

Radicalfeministpoet said...

Well, I read the whole thing, and this kid should be locked up permanently. So should newfie girl.

Why on earth does a public high school have a "creative writing class" anyway? These kids should be learning basic maths and English skills, along with a trade, like plumbing or electrics.

Noner said...

I'd like to thank all of you for sharing your opinions on this with me.

Dave said...

I had teachers "tell me what they thought" and it is harmful. I wrote a silly story, and got "it smacks of Smurfs" as a critique.

It wasn't nearly as harsh in comparison to your example, but it ticked me off so that the next story I wrote, I put down the title first. "No Laughter tonight Dear" which was a direct note to my teacher.

I then proceeded to write a murder story.