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A BAD BOOK IN YOUR CHILD'S SCHOOL?

You found your child had a book with vivid descriptions of sex, violence, vulgar language or something else objectionable to you. You have lots of questions. How dare the school allow this junk! Why? How did it happen? Are there other books like this? Why are they doing this to my child? To you, the parent, it definitely seems like the school is corrupting your child and undermining your values and parental rights.

You knew violence and pornography were everywhere these days but you didn't know the schools were in the business. What other stuff will your child read in school? Some minimum standard of decency has been violated. You feel the school system is forcing their values (or lack of values) on you and your child. What should you do? Somebody, somewhere in the school system must have decided this book was good. Well you think it is bad. You think it inappropriate, obscene, vulgar, lacking educational value or merit, or containing too graphic violence, etc. You don't understand how this book could be considered appropriate.

Are things like this going on in other schools in your county? Is this a systemic problem in the schools? You want to feel comfortable with your child in the hands of the school system. We parents entrust our children to the schools. We understand others values may be different than ours and we also understand that our children should and will be exposed to different ideas, but this has gone way over the line. Your trust has been betrayed by the schools.

You want to be sure nothing like this happens again, either this year or down the road. You hope this incident has been a mistake by individuals and does not reflect your school systems policy. And you don't feel you should have to read every potential book your children could encounter in the schools to screen out this stuff.

Regulations on Student Responsibilities and Rights nearly always state students have a responsibility not to use obscene materials. We think they also have a right not to be exposed to it. Are the schools, county and state violating our rights and values?


DISCUSSION

You have every right to feel angry and upset. Yes, they are corrupting your child. The schools and elected officials like the School Board should not have the power to violate your God-given, natural and constitutional rights as parents. Unfortunately they do it more and more frequently. And generally they get away with it. More books with graphic sex and violence and other objectionable material are in the schools everyday. So far, we parents and citizens as a whole, have been letting them do it.

Your children will certainly be impacted if you let them read trash, especially if they accept and consider it a normal part of their "education". The school system forces their values on your child everyday. If some of the things in the books they read were made into movies, exactly as written, the movie rating might be such you would not let your child see it. In one book we encountered parents are proud of their daughters 15-year old friend having sex, in public, at a party. What sort of message does this send your child? It might well conflict with what they are being taught at home or even in another class. It is painful to imagine the kind of class discussions that can and do take place. And it is certainly understandable why one might have some reservations about an English teacher leading these discussions. Not to be paranoid, but any teachers or schools assigning these books seem to have some kind of agenda. To us, in some cases, no matter what convoluted explanations are given, that agenda seems like corrupting the morals of our child.

The schools are busy these days, on one hand trying to teach children to have respect for each other and the teachers, and on the other hand, they have more and more books with profanity, sex and violence at an earlier and earlier age. Schools try to teach children to have respect for the diversity of cultures and religions but donít seem to understand that this reading material undermines individual and religious values.

Yes, this does seem to be systemic in schools. Objectionable books are entering the schools at a faster rate. Similar to what has happened to television shows since the 1980ís what was once considered vulgar is now commonplace. We cannot monitor the books our children are exposed to in school in the same way we can monitor their television viewing. If the books that are now used in many schools were introduced all at once, there may have been quite a protest from parents. However through a creeping gradualism they have slowly become pervasive.

In some of the books there are vividly described scenes of oral sex, brutal rapes, gang rapes, two men raping a woman at once, pedophilia, masturbation, extremely graphic violence, torture, linking of sexual excitement with violence, homosexuality, urinating on holy books, necrophilia, obscenities, vulgar language, and on and on and on. To us some of it is pornography weakly disguised as literature. Unbelievably foul stuff. With all the books available, why do teachers select these? The types of books we are concerned with are far beyond Harry Potter type stuff.

As we investigated objectionable reading material our children might unexpectedly encounter we found its use was not necessarily confined to a few classes. It is on our counties suggested Summer Reading List. It is in the school libraries.


GOOD NEWS/BAD NEWS

GOOD NEWS

- You are now aware of the problem and forewarned is forearmed

- If you object to a book, the school will usually find an alternative for your child

BAD NEWS

- There are a lot of bad books in the schools and it is getting worse

- Your child might have read the bad book, or participated in classroom discussions on it before you found out

- It is hard to know what book they might encounter in school next and if there will be anything in it that you donít want your child to read or discuss in school

- Some other child will encounter the same book again, in the same or another school, resulting in another surprised parent

- Most people are unaware of the problem

- Some people donít care if their kids read this stuff

- People donít know what to do about it

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