Wow. Just wow.
At least five students at a middle school in Monessen, Pa., were given word puzzles based on the erotic novel and movie Fifty Shades of Grey this week. According to Pittsburgh's local ABC affiliate, the word search was passed out Monday to an eighth-grade class and included words like "bondage," "erotic," "handcuffs," "intercourse," "independent," "intimidating," "paddling," "spanking" and "submissive."
At a school board meeting Tuesday night, Monessen City School District officials declined to comment on who gave the puzzles to students, citing personnel issues. "We just learned of this issue yesterday," solicitor John Toohey explained. "An investigation will occur." Board president Donna Fantauzzi added, "We are looking into it. As a parent, I understand your concern...and we will handle it as best we can."
Parent James Carter was outraged by the incident. "I asked my son who passed it out, and he said the teacher passed it out," he said. "I don't think this is what they should be doing in the eighth-grade level."
Another parent said, "I just can't imagine an educator putting that in front of an eighth grader—ever."
Board member Roberta Bergstedt, who was not at the meeting, addressed the issue in an email. "It was a huge but unintentional error and collected from the five students involved as soon as it was realized. Unfortunately one copy was taken by a student who then posted it on social media," Bergstedt wrote.
Universal Pictures and Focus Features' Fifty Shades of Grey, starring Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson, is in theaters Friday—and it's not for everyone. In fact, Dornan's own wife doesn't plan to see the racy R-rated movie. "She doesn't want to watch this," he recently told USA Today. "She wants to support me and my work. I won't be able to sit there myself. I am not going to put any pressure on her either way. It's her decision. She's well aware that it's pretend, but it's probably not that comfortable to watch."
(E!, Focus Features and Universal Pictures are all members of the NBCUniversal family.)