Another older article, but this time about books, censorship and schools. A common story.
Upset parents demanded this week that the Kings Canyon Unified School District remove a book intended for freshmen English classes that one father said is “inappropriate, amoral and disgusting.”
“All parents send their children to school with the expectation of trust, that they will be safe and protected from all forms of harm,” Jeff Claxton told school board members at their meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 23. “If you allow this title to be taught to our children, you will have failed.”
The only harm that comes from reading a book is the risk of a paper cut. Oh, right. Books are full of ideas, though, and these parents would rather their kids only get their ideas from parent approved sources, not bestselling fiction about adolescence. Were theirs so titillating they wouldn’t want their kids to know about those either? I offer a quote from the book, although I’m not given a page number.
“Secrets affect you more than you’d think. You lie to keep them hidden. You steer talk away from them. You worry someone’ll discover yours and tell the world. You think you are in charge of the secret, but isn’t it the secret who’s actually using you?”
Back to the article.
A crowd of about 50 people packed the small board room, and a majority of them came to protest the use of “Black Swan Green” at Reedley High.
The 2006 novel is the story of 13 months in the life of a 13-year-old boy in England in the early 1980s. In one passage of the 294-page book, the boy watches a couple have sex and describes what he sees.
I suppose they flipped through the book specifically to look for the word SEX so they could complain about it; they didn’t bother to read it. It’s won several awards. I’ve never heard of it, but I just work at a library; I don’t have time to read everything that’s in there. (Maybe I can suggest it to my Banned Book Club peeps when we finish Candide, though.)
The school district’s position has been that ninth- graders would read only two excerpts, not the entire book, and that neither of the excerpts deals with sex.
But, a parent has filed a complaint with the district about the book, which some say is pornographic in its depiction of the sex scene, blasphemous in several references to Jesus and profane because it contains the f-word and other vulgar language.
Like I said, probably flipped through to cherry pick the “naughty” bits.
The thing is, kids learn about sex and will learn it from their friends and all manner of media and internet and FSM knows what else. They’ll be swearing, they’ll be vulgar, they’ll be teenagers circa 2014 and just as idiotic and horny as kids in the 1980s were.
Another book, another place, another time: parents call police to stop free giving of challenged book in Meridian, Idaho. The publishers provided free copies of Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian after it was learned that the schools removed it from the reading list.
“There’s a paragraph right here where it has some sexual content,” Kissel said. “But if you look at it it’s a paragraph this big in a 230 page book.” That page reads ‘If God hadn’t wanted us to masturbate, then God wouldn’t have given us thumbs.”
After about an hour of Kissel passing out books to teenagers, Meridian police showed up. They said they had been called out by someone concerned about teenagers picking up a copy of the book without having a parent’s permission.
Are you fucking kidding me? Why would teenagers need parental permission to read a book? I read The Devil’s Cat at mealtimes and my parents never batted an eye. Of course, they never even opened it up to see what kind of book it was but it had a cool hologram of a cat’s head turning into the devil on the cover. And lots of sex, death and demonic violence. Perfect for a 13 year old… I can’t say it corrupted me in any way. It was just a book I read a few times.
At my library, parents can have access to their childrens’ library cards to check what they’re borrowing, but only up to the age of 14 or so. Beyond that, the teens have the right to borrow whatever the hell they want on their cards and snoopy parents can’t do a thing to stop them but I’m sure they’ve tried over the years. (The only limits put on them have to do with movie and video game ratings, viewer laws the library has to uphold.)
I don’t think anyone spoke up about books we were assigned in school when I was a kid. Our teachers seemed to go out of their way to pick challenged materials. To Kill a Mockingbird, A Separate Peace, Lord of the Flies, The Outsiders, The Chyrsalids.. that’s all I can think of off the top of my head but I think there were others.
That’s all I got. Thoughts?