This will be controversial, but I want honest thoughts from my friends here.
From my paper, the Northwest Florida Daily News, comes a controversy that as a parent of a High Schooler, is vitally important to me.
"FORT WALTON BEACH - A book about struggle, redemption and coming of age in Afghanistan is under fire in the Okaloosa County School District by a parent concerned about the novel's "mature content."
Laura Stovall submitted a Request for Reconsideration of Educational Materials to the school district after learning that "Kite Runner," written by Khaled Hosseini, would be used in Choctawhatchee High School's International Baccalaureate program. She also read the book before asking for reconsideration."
We have two High Schools here in Ft Walton Beach. BOTH of them are listed in the top 1000 High Schools in the country. We have a huge military presence here and most kids come from families that deal with the realities in the Middle East on a daily basis.
Added to that, this is a baccalaureate program.
That means, these kids are getting college credits for this HS class.
That's the history, now the point:
My freshman in college Lit 101 reading list included:
The Canterbury Tales. My English Lit professor referred to the Lady of Bath in the story. His comment: "Listen People, you are just not getting it! What Chaucer is saying is that he picked her up like a BOWLING BALL!"
The Decameron: By Giovanni Boccaccio. Ribald tales that included gardeners pretending to be mute, deaf and dumb to get it on with the nuns in a nunnery. A priest who ravages his confessionals.
How many of you remember The Catcher in the Rye"? That was commanded reading in my VERY Catholic ALL GIRLS boarding school!
What did my lit professor and the School Sisters of Notre Dame know, that this parent just doesn't get?
There is graphic text in literature. Even in revered literature. And understanding it, and applying it to life is why it's taught.
Ashely doesn't attend Choctaw HS, she is at it's rival, Fort Walton Beach High School ( GO VIKINGS) . At her school, this book; Kite Runner, is required reading for the SOPHOMORE class.
It's a beautiful book. It has some very difficult chapters, some more graphic than I would like, but it is a true depiction of life in the Middle East. It is well written, truly enthralling, and has been compared to To Kill a Mockingbird........one of my personal favorites of all time.
Life lessons are not easy. Sometimes they involve graphic, harsh words. Sometimes they are flowery, like Shakespeare's or Chaucer's. Sometimes they are in your face like J.D Salinger's.
Sometimes harsh life is romanticized like in the Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, or even Le Miserable, by Victor Hugo.
I believe that this parent's argument is a pure and unadulterated attempt at censorship. Her child has the option to opt out of the class, or to read other material. But that isn't really the point, is it?
These days, High Schools are treacherous ground. Our kids know more, and talk about subjects, that would make us cringe. BUT......
If we speak openly and honestly with our children, tell them that what they see IS out there, but we EXPECT them to rise above it...........
Make clear what we believe, what we live, what we choose to achieve.....they will not be swayed by the harsh rap lyrics, or even by this beautifully written book.
What do you guys think?