A second book has been pulled from the Bedford High School curriculum following complaints about its sexual content by the same parents who started the argument about Nickel and Dimed: On Not Getting By In America, which was removed from the high school’s personal finance course last month. (nashuatelegraph.com)The school decided to put on a number of intersession courses for students who wanted to learn more about literature that isn't a normal part of the curriculum.
Sara Gruen’s best-selling book “Water for Elephants” was scheduled to be used in one of the high school’s intersession programs – three-day experiences in April geared to give students a valuable opportunity beyond the classroom – but Bedford High School Principal Bill Hagen said the decision was made last week to remove that course as an option.But what valuable experience can occur without some sort of obstacle. In this case it was the parents of a student who was signed up for the intersession course. These are the same parents who earlier removed their child from a class after the Nickel and Dimed controversy last year.
Bedford residents Dennis and Aimee Taylor sent complaints to Hagen and Superintendent Tim Mayes about the book last week and denounced the text at the Bedford School Board meeting Monday.
“This book is likely to be a rated-X book, and thus, is totally unsuitable for use by the school,” Taylor said in an e-mail. “I advocate that all persons responsible for the chain of events that lead to this book being used be fired or terminated from the School Board.”
Taylor further suggested that the school only allow “youth versions” of particular books or organize a parental review system over the summer that would look at books that students need parental permission to read.I have to say I am very disappointed in the decision made by the school to not only remove the text, but remove the class entirely.
Hagen supported the teachers who wanted to remove the intersession option entirely and avoid another round of controversy, but he said the school has to be careful to avoid starting down this slippery slope.
“The inherent danger in what has happened here is that unless we go through a respectful and challenging review process, we might have a safe and sanitized curriculum,” Hagen said. “That’s a concern as an educator that I have.”
Hagen said the school will continue to improve and review their process to allow books into the curriculum, and he hopes to have more informed discussions from townspeople about them.This situation is discouraging coming in the wake of my last post on the Richland SD and the successes of their review process. In this case, no review was taken into consideration. There was one meeting and then the book was removed, as was the class, by the same Principal who is afraid of a "slippery slope." I don't know what to say. I only hope the school ends up having to remove every book and cancel every class based on this one family. Maybe at that point Mr. Hagen will understand what a problem he's started by falling prey to the Taylors every time they open their mouths.
Freedom requires a fight, and Bedford High is not fighting for Freedom.
Thanks for listening.
(Here's a link to the passage that created such a controversy)