Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Offensive Books on Public School Reading List

If the best argument we have for requiring these types of books is that we think this is what's required "to get students to read"--forgetting for a moment that we're requiring them to read these books--then we have a serious problem in our culture:
A New Jersey school district has apologized to parents after requiring high school students to read books that include graphic depictions of lesbian sex and a homosexual orgy.

“Some of the language is inappropriate,” said Chuck Earling, superintendent of Monroe Township Schools in Williamstown, N.J. “We were not trying to create controversy. We were just trying to get students to read.”

The books were on a required summer reading list for middle school and high school students. The district decided to pull the book off the list, with the start of school just days away.


Happy Elf Mom said...

...which means, the children have already read the books.

And I LOVE how these places vow to put parents on the board. They find parents who share the same convictions (or lack thereof) they do.

I don't think it's "censorship" to say such things ought not be purchased with tax dollars and placed in school libraries. There are millions of books out there. WHY must schools cause controversy when selecting reading materials? Have a list of about 20 or so reasonable books on a list each year and have the high schoolers pick, say, three of them.

My oldest son is in AP English and they wanted him to read some smut depicting marital rape and the mom imagining about her son's "junk" within the first few pages. We asked for an alternative assignment, you betya.

Anonymous said...

If we're going to pick "reasonable" books and avoid controversy, we might as well throw out the Bible, Shakespeare, Joyce, Ellison, Twain, Orwell, Eliot, Hardy, Huxley, Hemingway, and the others.

The mere presence of sexual content does not make a book good or bad.

Darren said...

Nice straw-man argument there.

Happy Elf Mom said...

The mere presence of sexual content wasn't my objection. Graphic depictions of incest and the like without any discernable literary or historical value (for example, a Holocaust memoir would have historical value) are what I'm discussing.

I think Romeo and Juliet is kinda dopey myself. Imagine the families wandering about town with knives Jerry Springer-style and this Romeo dude hopping on a rebound relationship with a girl. Meh. But not worth fighting about. Even graphic stuff (as in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings) are appropriate for older teens if their parents are ok with it. There are things to be learnt from books like these, but a little decorum and parental request forms would be nice. :)

Anonymous said...

I don't remember any graphic scenes in Norwegian Wood.