MADISON, Wis. – Parents are getting an eye-opening look at what their children are learning in O’Keeffe Middle School teacher Abigail Swetz’s “spoken word” class.
The MacIver Institute, a conservative think tank, highlighted numerous videos posted to Swetz’s YouTube channel that features highly sexualized language in poems read by students at class and after school open mic sessions.
“And in bed we abbreviate our intentions in weighty osculations, and my tears over you will be libations creating tiny pools of salty devastation atop your soft spot,” one student read to his classmates.
Another girl’s presentation asked: “Why is it when I have sex I’m a slut, but when he does it, he’s a god?”
Swetz’s open mic sessions started as part of her spoken word class and expanded in 2012 to after school hours and off campus locations with the help of a $5,000 grant from the Foundation for Madison’s Public Schools. The events are aimed at students as young as 13-years-old, according to MacIver.
Many of the student poems featured on her YouTube channel contained explicit language, drug use, homosexuality, rape, and other sexual references.
“He was addictive like heroin or cocaine,” another student read in a video captured by MacIver. “The type where each time he kissed me, I injected them into my bloodstream.”
The videos also featured performances by Swetz herself, including “Love Lines,” a poem about her out of state lesbian marriage, and “1600” a social justice catch-all poem about hate crimes, police killing black criminals, and a racist President Trump.
“We’re not at school, so I get to be political,” Swetz said at one event. “As if you didn’t already know, I support gay marriage.”
In another Swetz poem, she espoused her perspective on her profession.
“Some days I look out over my students and I close my lesson plan and I shut my door and I open my eyes to the lessons they really need to learn, no matter what some dead old white guy legislators in Washington deem worthy of my curriculum.”
Swetz also takes some students to Milwaukee for the Teen Poetry Slam State Finals, where the topics are equally as disturbing.
“They made me think that the thought of two men together was a plague; that two women together was the devil’s work; they poisoned my mind to the thought that my sex drive could only determine one sex, and that if I didn’t choose women I would be banished to the lower income, where the gays and lesbians scrounge for food …,” one student said in a video of the event.
Another student’s poem went like this:
“He bends her over, turning her over, turning her over to him. He is her god now.
“Do not read a poem describing rape in pornographic detail about people still ripping his touch from their skin are in the room.
“Do not tell me you meant no harm. You caused harm. You made three people have panic attacks because of your poem.”
MacIver contacted Swetz, O’Keeffe principal Tony Dugas, and Madison Metropolitan School District Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham about the videos, but none would answer questions.
Swetz did, however, turn her YouTube channel to private.