Everyone has different moral beliefs. Often we hear the statement “you have no right to force your moral beliefs onto me.”
Fine. But the door swings both ways.
Usually, though, for them it’s a one way street, and they have the State to back them up.
In New Hampshire, a high school has 14-year-old students reading a novel that involves, according to Todd Starnes at Fox News, “a school shooting and deals with a variety of issues ranging from bullying to sexual violence.”
In previous years, parents have received some sort of notification about the nature of the novel. This year, they did not. When some of the parents learned what their child was reading as part of the curriculum, they were livid.
Let’s examine the great writing in the book, such as this gem of prose:
“’She could feel his erection, hot against her stomach. ‘Yeah,’ he groaned, and he pushed her thighs apart. And then suddenly Matt was inside her, pumping her so hard that she scooted backward on the carpet, burning the backs of her legs.”
You may or may not think it is appropriate for 14-year-old students to read passages like this found in a novel which would have formerly been confined to the shameful part of a bookstore. But I assure you many parents would rather have them read Julius Caesar, All Quiet on the Western Front, or the hundreds of other great works of literature that don’t involve graphic pornography.
Yes, I know Shakespeare wrote plenty of sexual innuendo and jokes in his plays. There’s also plenty of violence in his works, but its written well and not meant to be overtly crass. The play on words in the Taming of the Shrew, full of sexual puns, demonstrates his command of the English language and creativity. The point of reading literature is to improve your reading comprehension skills.
For example, consider these two statements:
1. You need to stop working on everything else and get this project done right now, it’s due tomorrow.
2. Considering this particular project is due tomorrow and there is still a great deal that must be worked on before it is ready, I would recommend you put all your other projects aside for the moment, since their deadlines are later in the week, and redirect all efforts into completing this one so that we’ll have it ready tomorrow.
Both are saying the same thing. But they are said in different ways. The first way is to blunt and direct, and many people would consider it rude, depending on the tone used. The second is much more graceful in handling a potentially delicate subject and issues the instructions in a constructive and encouraging manner.
Again, they both are saying the same thing, just in different ways.
The same with literature. Many great works of literature deal with the same themes, such as violence and sex. But they do so in a tactful, sophisticated, and intelligent manner, which is why they are read instead of pulp novels. If they are more explicit, they probably aren’t the ones for 14-year-old students to read.
Again, its about age appropriateness.
Of course, the response is “Who are you to push your views on what my child reads?”
No one. But who are you to push your views on what my (hypothetical) child reads?
In a private education system, this wouldn’t be an issue. You put your kid in a school that teaches your values, and if they don’t you aren’t forced to have them attend it. Or, you can home school them.
I know people who work at private schools. Believe me, when parents complain about something, anything, the principal is listening with both ears and has his full attention on every word they utter. Unlike public schools, they can’t afford to lose students over something so trivial. If a handful of parents complained about a novel like this, the book would be gone by the end of the day.
And that’s the trouble with public schools. There are many opinions on a lot of issues, but only one gets enforced. By this I mean that only certain books can integrated into the curriculum. A lot of people have differing ideas of what constitutes good literature or what books the kids should read. But at the end of the day, books like this are read that parents don’t want their kids reading, and they no control over it.
One father tried to complain about the book at a school district meeting, but when he went over his allotted time granted by his wise overlords and argued with another parent who didn’t think there was anything wrong with forcing another man’s daughter to read a book he found morally offensive, he got arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.
The father, sadly, was naive about the system. His opinion does not matter. Unless he comprises a majority of parents or wields some sort of power and influence, then nothing is going to happen. His child’s education is based on what other people think is appropriate.
The only way to ensure that your child is properly educated is to educate them yourself. When you home-school, you get to decide what they read and if the book doesn’t cut it you don’t need permission to switch it with another title. There are thousands of great books online your kid can read that will teach them the different styles of writing, the nuances and subtleties with which writers create compelling and profound stories.
There is absolutely no reason for a school to have a child read a trash novel like this one – at least no reason having to do with educating them on how to read and write. If a parent thinks it is okay for their kid, very well. Their choice. But other parents have the right to choose to keep such books away from their kids, right?