Required Summer Reading List
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    Posting Addict GloriaInTX's Avatar
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    Default Required Summer Reading List

    Were these book appropriate for a required summer reading list? Would you have objected?


    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.

    “There were some words and language that seemed to be inappropriate as far as the parents and some of the kids were concerned,” Earling said.

    One book, “Norwegian Wood,” was on a list for incoming sophomores in an honors English class. The book includes a graphic depiction of a lesbian sex scene between a 31-year-old woman and a 13-year old girl, according to a report first published in the Gloucester County Times.

    “I don’t think that’s relevant for any teenager,” parent Robin Myers told the newspaper. Her daughter was assigned to read the book. “I was just kind of in shock,” she said.

    The other book in question was “Tweak (Growing up on Methamphetamines).” That book included depictions of drug usage and a homosexual orgy.

    “That has created a controversy,” Earling told Fox News Radio, referring to the drug usage – along with the lesbian and gay sex scenes. “We’ve pulled them from our summer reading list.”

    Peter Sprigg, with the Family Research Council, said he’s not surprised by the controversy surrounding the books.

    “Here we see the intersection of parental values being offended, the hyper-sexualization of our youth and the homosexual agenda being pushed,” Sprigg told Fox News Radio. “This just illustrates why a lot of American parents are not willing to entrust their children to the public schools anymore.”

    So whose idea was it to put books featuring explicit sex scenes on a summer reading list for teenagers?

    Earling said the school district’s summer reading list was prepared by a committee made up of teachers, librarians and school administrators. The board of education ultimately approved the list.

    “They read the books,” he said. “They didn’t feel it was inappropriate based on the language that’s used, common language used on the street.” The superintendent said students have seen more graphic things on television or in the movies – and noted that only about a dozen people actually complained.


    As a result of the controversy, Earling said they are going to rework their summer reading list to include a rating system for books. And he also said that in the future, they will include parents on the reading list committee.

    Sprigg called on parents across the nation to pay close attention to what their children are being encouraged to read.

    “To a large extent the educational community and the library community have come under the control of very radical liberal ideology with regard to sexuality and they view anything that might remotely be called censorship as the ultimate evil,” Sprigg said. “Exposing children to graphic sexual content – that is not as evil as censorship in the minds of some left-wing activists.”
    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/08/23...#ixzz1Vt0Xe8k2
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    I would have been one of the dozen that complained! The Superintendent has no idea what I allow MY children to view in OUR home. No way is my kid going to be required to read any sex scene or detailed description of illegal drug use. Geez.....

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    I would have objected to the entire list, not on the content of the books, but because I don't think anything should be required over the summer.

    I have no problem with those books for high schoolers. Reading about a sex scene or drug use in a book isn't going to do anything to sway anyone to try something they don't already want to do. If I haven't been able to instill my values in my children by that age, then that's my failure as a parent. If they are exposed to things I don't approve of, then I'll use it as a "teaching moment," but I am not going to teach my kids that censorship is ever a good thing.
    Last edited by Spacers; 08-23-2011 at 05:55 PM.
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    Community Host Alissa_Sal's Avatar
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    Reading?!? Oh noes!

    ETA: Sorry, that came off more b*tchy than I intended. I just had a moment, so I thought that I would make a joke, but re-reading it I sound like a jerk. LOL Sorry about that.

    My honest answer is....I don't know. Honestly, that seems to be sort of the trend towards where high school lit is going in some places. My DH (English teacher) let me read some of the books and short stories that he was teaching his classes last year, and I was a little shocked. These were books that were approved by the school board, not just some random trash that he came up with on his own. I remember commenting that we would have never read anything that "racy" in my high school classes. I can't remember what DH said about it - maybe something about teens relating to real stories told in real language. I'll have to ask him again tonight.

    I remember when I took my first lit class in college, how edgy I felt to be reading books that dealt with more adult themes and adult language. LOL

    Personally, I don't think that I would throw a huge fit if my highschooler was reading something more graphic like that. I read all sorts of graphic stuff when I was in high school - not assigned in school, but just "racy" books that we passed around like contraband (like "Wifey" by Judy Blume.) I think in a way, it let us explore those ideas and concepts without having to actually go out and have sex and do drugs ourselves, if that makes any sense. Plus, it was a little thrilling to read a book that you just knew your parents would have disapproved of. But hey, we were reading, and we were reading instead of doing the real thing, so that's probably a win for our parents after all.
    Last edited by Alissa_Sal; 08-23-2011 at 06:41 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spacers View Post
    I would have objected to the entire list, not on the content of the books, but because I don't think anything should be required over the summer.

    I have no problem with those books for high schoolers. Reading about a sex scene or drug use in a book isn't going to do anything to sway anyone to try something they don't already want to do. If I haven't been able to instill my values in my children by that age, then that's my failure as a parent. If they are exposed to things I don't approve of, then I'll use it as a "teaching moment," but I am not going to teach my kids that censorship is ever a good thing.
    You don't censor things for your kids now? I think parents have to use censorship when it comes to the best interest of their children. I don't think that my job of "instilling values" ends when they enter high school either. In fact, that's when the tough part really begins because they experience a bit more freedom and peer pressure increases. The last thing I need is for my high-schooler to be REQUIRED to read about sex and drugs!!

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    Prolific Poster ftmom's Avatar
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    Normally I would side with the school on this one, and so I was skeptical about how bad these books really were. Figuring you ladies didnt want to wait until I had read them myself, I looked up some reviews online. Although these books both got stellar reviews, they are described as very sexual and graffic, and I think that the school district should have known this would happen if they put the books on the reading list. Not that I wouldnt let my kids read these books, I read some pretty racy stuff in my teens, but I dont think they should have been required reading, as I know just from reading the reviews that there would be parents who would strenuously object to them.

    Quick question: How old is a sophomore? We dont use that system here, just grades. Cause that could change my response. Probably not, but I would have to think about it some more I am thinking they are somewhere in the grade 8-9 range?
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    Quote Originally Posted by ftmom View Post
    Normally I would side with the school on this one, and so I was skeptical about how bad these books really were. Figuring you ladies didnt want to wait until I had read them myself, I looked up some reviews online. Although these books both got stellar reviews, they are described as very sexual and graffic, and I think that the school district should have known this would happen if they put the books on the reading list. Not that I wouldnt let my kids read these books, I read some pretty racy stuff in my teens, but I dont think they should have been required reading, as I know just from reading the reviews that there would be parents who would strenuously object to them.

    Quick question: How old is a sophomore? We dont use that system here, just grades. Cause that could change my response. Probably not, but I would have to think about it some more I am thinking they are somewhere in the grade 8-9 range?
    My 15 year old son is a sophmore - 10th grade.
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    Posting Addict GloriaInTX's Avatar
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    I have a hard time grasping how any parent wouldn't object to a teenager being required to read about graphic sex between a 13 year old and and 31 year old.
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    Posting Addict Spacers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alana*sMommy View Post
    You don't censor things for your kids now? I think parents have to use censorship when it comes to the best interest of their children. I don't think that my job of "instilling values" ends when they enter high school either. In fact, that's when the tough part really begins because they experience a bit more freedom and peer pressure increases. The last thing I need is for my high-schooler to be REQUIRED to read about sex and drugs!!
    Yes, of course I do censor things now. That's because she's 7. In the given case, we're talking about 15yos, sophomores in high school. That's an age where parents IMHO need to be starting to let go and letting their child start growing up & taking things on for themselves. Seven-year-olds need protection; teenagers need to explore the world but also need to be able to do so in a safe way, like Alissa-Sal said about exploring "forbidden" topics through books instead of in person. I'm sure there are a lot of things my future teenagers will read that will make me uncomfortable; I don't think the answer is to forbid them from reading those things, but to have a conversation along with it & remind them about our values & our belief system. (And my values & belief system like some nice graphic sex and the occasional recreational drug once in a while, and I hope when my kids are older that they'll find someone to enjoy those things with, as well.)

    And why don't you want your high-schooler to read about sex & drugs? What are you afraid of? That they're going to try those things? That they're going to want to read more? Oh horrors, my kids are reading more books!
    Last edited by Spacers; 08-23-2011 at 07:32 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spacers View Post
    Yes, of course I do censor things now. That's because she's 7. In the given case, we're talking about 15yos, sophomores in high school. That's an age where parents IMHO need to be starting to let go and letting their child start growing up & taking things on for themselves. Seven-year-olds need protection; teenagers need to explore the world but also need to be able to do so in a safe way, like Alissa-Sal said about exploring "forbidden" topics through books instead of in person. I'm sure there are a lot of things my future teenagers will read that will make me uncomfortable; I don't think the answer is to forbid them from reading those things, but to have a conversation along with it & remind them about our values & our belief system. (And my values & belief system like some nice graphic sex and the occasional recreational drug once in a while, and I hope when my kids are older that they'll find someone to enjoy those things with, as well.)

    And why don't you want your high-schooler to read about sex & drugs? What are you afraid of? That they're going to try those things? That they're going to want to read more? Oh horrors, my kids are reading more books!
    First of all, you don't need to roll your eyes when speaking to me (or any other adult for that matter).

    Second, I don't plan on "letting go" of my child entirely when they turn 15 and REQUIRING them to read pornographic material (and yes, I consider racy sex scenes to be pornographic in nature). Would I punish my teen if I caught them reading a book like that? Probably not. But I'm certainly not going to allow the school to force them to read it either.

    We don't condone sex at 15 or the use of recreational drugs in my house. If you're cool with it in yours, so be it. We're obviously VERY different and that's why we disagree on this subject.

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