Friday, April 18, 2008

In the Local News ...

Just as we're talking about book banning and censorship, a relevant local story to consider:

"Parents Take Son Out of School Over Controversial Book"


WWAY on 13 March 2008 - 5:00pm.

WILMINGTON -- A book on a local ninth grade reading list has some parents so upset, they took their son out of school.

The book, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, was an option for students to read in a freshman English class at Ashley High School. It was among the American Library Association's most challenged books of 2006.

Now the book is being challenged here in New Hanover County.

"This book is the most graphic book I've seen as a student book."

As Chuck and Wendy Strafford read through The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky they couldn't believe it was being taught in their son's high school freshman English class.

Chuck said, "There's millions and millions of good books out there, literature books, that are cleaner."

The coming-of-age tale told from the perspective of a high school boy has sparked controversy nationwide. The book goes into detail about drugs, alcohol, gay sex, date rape and other topics the Straffords say would be better off in more advanced classes -- not for 15-year-old students like their son Elijah.

"We're trying to keep him protected and sheltered in a healthy, clean environment and keeping him so he's innocent," Wendy said.

Elijah's teacher, Christy McCoy, gave students the option of reading a different book, but the Strafford's say he was absent the day she made that announcement and was under the impression he had to read this book.

New Hanover County Schools Spokesperson Valita Quattlebaum said, "The book will go through the school's media advisory committee and it will be reviewed there. Then the book will go on further to the district's media advisory committee to be reviewed at that time. And after that takes place a decision will be made whether or not the book will be allowed to remain on the school's shelves."

The Straffords say they've had to sign permission slips so their kids could take sex-ed courses, and even watch certain movies. They say they would have liked to be notified in the same manner about this book.

Wendy said, "We should, with literature, especially with that graphic of a nature, be told as parents, not let the kids have that choice since they are minors."

The Straffords, along with another concerned parent, met with the principal and their son's English teacher and say they couldn't reach any sort of agreement. They took Elijah out of Ashley for the time being and say they hope this eventually blows over.

They say they aren't trying to get the book banned; they simply would have liked to have gotten a heads up about its graphic nature.