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Complaint from parent concerning book read in Westport classroom leads to response from School administration



A Westport parent expressed outrage concerning a book reading at his daughter’s school which has prompted a response from the school’s administration.

A parent, who did not want to be named, contacted Fall River Reporter after he said teacher Matthew Shivers read a book Thursday in English class at Westport High to all students that he and his daughter felt was not appropriate.

“My daughter was shocked and confused to why he was even reading anything like this. And all students also were in shock!”

The parent sent us an excerpt from the book titled Happy Endings by Margaret Atwood:

“Mary falls in love with John but John doesn’t fall in love with Mary. He merely uses her body for selfish pleasure and ego gratification of a tepid kind. He comes to her apartment twice a week and she cooks him dinner, you’ll notice that he doesn’t even consider her worth the price of a dinner out, and after he’s eaten dinner he f**** her and after that he falls asleep, while she does the dishes so he won’t think she’s untidy, having all those dirty dishes lying around, and puts on fresh lipstick so she’ll look good when he wakes up, but when he wakes up he doesn’t even notice, he puts on his socks and his shorts and his pants and his shirt and his tie and his shoes, the reverse order from the one in which he took them off. He doesn’t take off Mary’s clothes, she takes them off herself, she acts as if she’s dying for it every time, not because she likes sex exactly, she doesn’t, but she wants John to think she does because if they do it often enough surely he’ll get used to her, he’ll come to depend on her and they will get married, but John goes out the door with hardly so much as a good-night and three days later he turns up at six o’clock and they do the whole thing over again.”

Westport teacher placed on leave concerning reading assignment controversy

The parent also expressed concern that the book talks about suicide and how to accomplish it by taking pills.

“Her friends tell her they’ve seen him in a restaurant with another woman, whose name is Madge. It’s not even Madge that finally gets to Mary: it’s the restaurant. John has never taken Mary to a restaurant. Mary collects all the sleeping pills and aspirins she can find, and takes them and a half a bottle of sherry. You can see what kind of a woman she is by the fact that it’s not even whiskey. She leaves a note for John. She hopes he’ll discover her and get her to the hospital in time and repent and then they can get married, but this fails to happen and she dies.”

Reporter contacted the school’s administration and received a response from Superintendent of Westport Community Schools Thomas Aubin.

“Just to let you know, the district has been made aware of a reading assigned to students that was not part of the Westport Community School Curriculum. The Westport Community School administration will address this matter immediately. We appreciate the parental communication regarding this matter.”

It is currently unclear what actions the school plans to take.



  1. S. Sullivan

    September 1, 2023 at 9:13 am

    Vile and disgusting. Also badly written.Home school before they brainwash your daughter to be a boy.

  2. Fùck Joe Biden

    September 1, 2023 at 4:00 pm

    Plain and simple, theteacher is a pedophile and should be removed. FJB

  3. Maggie

    September 2, 2023 at 11:25 am

    You can’t judge a lesson taken out of context like this. There is no information in this article about how the lesson was presented or discussed. There are many challenging texts. If our students engage with challenging texts in a safe environment in which they are taught how to unpack and understand them, then they will be better able to deal with the same themes in the real world. There are misogynists in our culture. Fictional misogyny will be easier to process without an emotional reaction, and can help all people deal with it in the real world. It’s inappropriate to rush to judgement against the teacher with so little information about the lesson.

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