Teacher says reading Harry Potter and The Hunger Games can cause mental illness

Teacher is WRONG

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As JK Rowling said not too long ago, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home, and for a lot of Harry Potter fans, that's a phrase that means a lot for one reason or another.

The wizarding world books often provide a safe and happy place to escape to when real life all gets a bit too much, which is why loads of fans are picking up their wands and preparing to duel with a headmaster who's made some controversial claims about Harry Potter.

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Teacher Graeme Whiting reckons that reading the HP series, as well as more of your favourite fantasy literature, can lead to "difficult behaviour" and even encourage mental illness in children. Erm, WHAT.

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Graeme Whiting has come under fire this week for his seriously bizarre claim that books like Harry Potter, The Hunger Games and Lord of the Rings can affect children in a negative way, and even lead to mental health problems.

Writing on his blog, Graeme said: "I want children to read literature that is conducive to their age and leave those mystical and frightening texts for when they can discern reality, and when they have first learned to love beauty."

Yup. He reckons that fantasy books contain "deeply insensitive and addictive material which… encourages difficult behaviour in children."

And that's not all. Graeme even thinks that fantasy books should only be sold to readers with a "special license", as they "can damage the sensitive subconscious brains of young children, many of whom may be added to the current statistics of mentally ill young children."

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Right, well. We're not even sure what to point out as the strangest and most ridiculous part of Graeme's ideas, but we'll have a go. The idea that Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings are "dark, demonic literature" is pretty laughable - especially when he goes on to talk about how the "old-fashioned values of traditional literature" would be so much better for children.

Erm, has this guy ever read any Shakespeare? The stuff that old Willy Shakey used to inflict on some of his characters is FAR darker than anything Voldemort ever got up to - not to mention the fact that a huge number of his 'traditional literature' plays were all about magic.

Thousands of writers used fantasy and magic in their work LONG before YA dystopian fiction became popular, and ironically, books like Harry Potter and The Hunger Games are often providing an important, much needed escape for a lot of children and young people who deal with the mental health problems. Y'know, the same mental health problems that this out-of-touch teacher is blaming them for. Sigh.

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So there you go. Rant over.

What do you reckon to the comments made by this teacher? Still Team Potter? Let us know with a tweet to @Sugarscape.

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