I love to read. It's something my mother fostered in me from a very young age (THANKS MOM!), and she didn't restrict our choice of reading material (within reason; my brother couldn't read Playboy). Over the years, I have developed favorites from literary classics to modern-era classics such as Stephen King. I've also grown to love my conservative political books. Never, though, did a teacher assign a book with objectionable themes during my school years.
"Perks of a Wallflower" by Stephen Chbosky (published by MTV Books; that says a lot) was given to an 11th-grade student at William Byrd High School in Vinton, Virginia, by his English teacher. The book was then passed on to the son of John Davis.
Davis found the book in his son's possession along with a bookmark that urged "Read banned books. They're your ticket to freedom."
According to World Net Daily:
"My son was reading the book and stated it was a school assignment," Davis told WND. "He was embarrassed that I began to peruse through the book and discovered its contents. He advised that the book belongs to his English teacher, Mrs. Kathleen Renard."
Here's some of what Mr. Davis found while reading through the book.
- sex acts between teenagers
- male and female masturbation
- oral sex
- extensive use of profanity, especially the "F"-word
- multiple cases of homosexual acts between teenage boys, including kissing, seduction and anal sex
- illegal drug and alcohol use, including smoking marijuana and LSD usage
- anonymous homosexual acts between men and boys
- rape of a teenage girl while she cried
- molestation of a young boy by a woman
- molestation of a young girl by an older man
- how hitting a girl can turn her on and make her love a boy
- attempted sex between a boy and a dog [B & G note: EWWW!!!]
Amazon.com excerpt from 'Perks of Being a Wallflower
Armed with book in hand, Mr. Davis went to confront the principal, Richard Turner. The English teacher was not present during Davis's meeting with Turner, even though Davis had requested that she be called in. Turner refused saying, "I'm not going to fire her over this." (Emphasis mine)
The assigned book is on a list of "banned books" and among the top ten most frequently challenged books of 2008 according to the American Library Association. Other books on the list deal with the occult, violence, sex (hetero- and homosexual), drug abuse, and suicide. No wonder the kids of today are so screwed up! They've been exposed to adult issues outside of the parent's control.
While I believe that it's one of those "If you don't like it, don't read it" issues, these are KIDS. At the very least, the parents should have been notified of the assignment and proper permission given to participate. Alas, they weren't.
It's time that parents be given control over the children they have loved and nurtured. The schools need to stick to teaching FACTS, not personal ideology of the teacher. Until this happens, I urge every parent to closely monitor what is being taught to your kids. Stay involved and DO NOT let the school district bully you into capitulation. The future is not worth giving up.
Oh...to contact the school and the school board:
William Byrd High School and Roanoke County School Board