AP Teacher Fired For Reading Alan Ginsberg Poem
David Olio was a 19-year veteran of the South Windsor, CT school system. Even if this is considered a terrible infraction (which it shouldn’t be), dismissal is a rather harsh reaction to reading the works of a celebrated writer to an advanced placement class. Olio didn’t even introduce the poem to the class, as it was brought in by a student.
…Olio…winner of Connecticut’s highest award for teaching excellence, didn’t know the poem in question, but he took a look and walked the students through it in the remaining time.
The poem the student discovered and brought in was “Please Master,” an extremely graphic account of a homosexual encounter published by Allen Ginsberg in 1968 that begins: “Please master can I touch your cheek / please master can I kneel at your feet / please master can I loosen your blue pants.”
Clearly, “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” this wasn’t. But the students were 17- and 18-year-olds, some of whom were taking the AP course in conjunction with the University of Connecticut and receiving college credit.
One day after the class, Olio was placed on indefinite, unpaid leave by the district. Seventy-two hours later, the district began termination proceedings against him. Three weeks after that, he agreed to resign.