Photo Credit: Louis Debenham/Louis Debenham/Getty Images
We called it: Preparing for the zombie apocalypse is in -- so much so, that in Hermiston, Ore., kids can take a class on it. Or at least they could before it was canceled.
Middle school teacher Rich Harshberger came up with a brilliant way to make reading and writing more appealing: couch it in zombie mania. Kids enrolled in the optional extracurricular class were required to read "The Zombie Survival Guide" and keep their own survival journals. Given the popularity of The Walking Dead and Warm Bodies, with memories of Hurricane Sandy keeping emergency preparedness top of mind for many families , the class took off. "It's gotten kids engaged that I wouldn't have gotten engaged before," Harshberger told the East Oregonian.
However, the school found curriculum centered around the undead unsavory and promptly axed it. "The use of zombie-related materials is unfortunate and was not approved in accordance with district curricular policies," said Superintendent Dr. Fred Maiocco, in a statement on the school's website. "While zombies may be a contemporary topic, the inclusion of zombie-related materials was deemed inappropriate for middle school students and has been replaced with age- and content-appropriate materials."
The class sounds like it was an innovative way to reach junior high kids where they already are: in the throes of fantasy fandom, where the themes are subversively and appealingly dark (see: Hunger Games, The Host and Beautiful Creatures). It's a shame to shut down anything that gets kids psyched to read and write -- or trains them for the end of days.
Also, Mr. Harshberger? Coolest. Teacher. Ever.
What do you think? Would you let your kid enroll in a zombie survival prep course?