While kids are known for saying whatever is on their mind, they can also write anything. Creative writing classes or "free write" exercises are usually good icebreakers for any English class, but giving a bunch of students free range to turn in anything they want is definitely a risk.
Do you tell the parents? Or, depending on how old the student is, do you confront the student? Can you give someone a bad grade just because their content is truly bizarre?
When a recent Reddit user asked, "English teachers, what topic on a 'write about anything' essay made you lose hope in humanity?" teachers and professors were ready to share.
I teach literature at a college and mostly deal with freshmen and sophomores. For our free writing unit, one of the assignments asked the students to write any original story based on your favorite fictional genre. So, one of my students wanted to do horror. I said great! That's also a favorite of mine. Go nuts.
Eventually, the assignments are turned in and I'm grading them at home. I get to the kid with the horror story and it's about a serial killer who stalks women. Okay, whatever. Nothing I haven't seen before.
But then the story goes into long, excruciating detail about the next victim this killer plans on stalking/raping/murdering: a petite blonde in her early 30s who teaches English. And it just so happens I'm a petite blonde in her early 30s who, well-- yeah.
I didn't report it or anything since it was a creative exercise. I didn't grade him unfairly, either. But I seriously couldn't look that kid in the eye ever again.