What can I say in three minutes that will make a difference? I can say the censorship bullies are intentionally misleading and prove it, I can give out copies of the linked attachments for further consideration, and I can urge people to discuss book challenges in a civil fashion instead of "weird arguments," as popular young adult fiction writer Lauren Myracle puts it after graciously apologizing for maligning Wall Street Journal book reviewer Meghan Cox Gurdon.
Who Am I?
Why Am I Here?
In this community many people are afraid to speak up for common sense precisely because of the censorship bullies. What is really needed is reasoned discussion, free from the shouting voices trying to bully people into being afraid to stand up for what we all know is right. I am going to illustrate that to you today, as best as I can in the three minutes I'm allowed to speak. To help make my points, I have handouts here with the reliable references supporting what I am saying. You will not see these sources from anything ALA or its local acolytes sends you so please read them.
My hope is you'll listen to what I have to say and decide to consider the matter seriously instead of unwittingly kowtowing to the voices shouting "censorship" and "book banning." Indeed, the reason they shout "censorship" is to intimidate people into never challenging a book in the first place, but people have every right and duty to challenge their government, including public schools. Your children should take precedence over your fear of being falsely labelled a censor.
The Declining Values in Young Adult Fiction Is Not a Left or Right Issue
- "Young Adult Fiction: Wild Things," by Naomi Wolf, New York Times, 12 March 2006.
New York City Removes Inappropriate Books From Hundreds of Schools
- "City's Ed. Boobs," by Carl Campanile, New York Post, 13 October 2003.
Even the American Library Association Says "Get It Out of There"
- "Marking 25 Years of Banned Books Week: An Interview with Judith Krug," by Judith Krug, 46 Curriculum Review 1, September 2006, p.12.
Despite the Shouting Voices, Most People Oppose Sexually Explicit Material in Schools
- "Most Americans Opposed to Banning Any Books," by Harris Interactive, The Harris Poll, 12 April 2011.
It's Parenting, Not Censorship
- "It's Not Censorship, It's Parenting! Removing Books That Are Inappropriate For Our Kids Is Not the Same as Banning Books," by Erin Manning, MercatorNet, 18 November 2009.
School Superintendents Oppose Sexually Inappropriate Material in Schools, Even If ALA Recommends It
- "Book Ruckus Divides Montgomery County Residents," by Jim Warren, Lexington Herald-Leader, 29 November 2009 (the link appears to be dead so I'm linking where I quoted the matter, and notice the many comments, including by young adult book authors like Ellen Hopkins and Chris Crutcher).
Schools Oppose Book Review Sites Like Scholastic for Hiding Information About the Potential for Sexually Inappropriate Material for Children
- "'Lush' Causes Uproar by Parents," by Cortney Mumaugh, Putnam County Sentinel, 15 December 2010.
ALA Censors and Blacklists Common Sense Media for Providing Book Ratings About the Potential for Sexually Inappropriate Material for Children
This is the ALA that is saying parents need to be informed while it shapes the messages so parents miss out on exactly what concerns them. This is one of the smoking guns of why the American Library Association is not to be trusted; it actively works to mislead you, parents and schools, while acting as some kind of authority.
- "Intellectual Freedom Committee Report," by Michael Giller, American Library Association, 29 August 2013.
Author Supports Wall Street Journal Book Reviewer Who Dared to Suggest Young Adult Books Might Be Inappropriate For Children
The backlash can be so bad that few brave authors are willing to speak out in defense of those simply speaking the truth about books for children, as Meghan Cox Gurdon did in the Wall Street Journal where she suggested, as I pointed out above, book reviews are incomplete and uninformative.
- "In Defense of Meghan Cox Gurdon, Children's Book Reviewer; Does a Reviewer Have a Right to Say that Books for Adolescents are 'Ever-More-Appalling'?," by Janice Harayda, One-Minute Book Reviews, 6 June 2011.
Reasoned Discussion, Free From the Shouting, Bullying Voices Crying Censorship, Is What Is Needed to Address School Book Challenges; A Great Example is Author Lauren Myracle Apologizing to Wall Street Journal Book Reviewer Meghan Cox Gurdon
As an example of the kind of positive atmosphere in which book challenges should be discussed, I urge you to read the transcript of the National Public Radio discussion of Meghan Cox Gurdon and her Judy Bloom-like critic and author Lauren Myracle. Lauren apologized to Meghan for jumping on the censorship bandwagon. I urge you to read this. Then I urge you to set aside the shouting and the bullying and the false arguments about how well rated the materials are and how some parents are censors and instead focus on amicably resolving the issue in a manner that best suits the community and its children, not the bullies.
"I lashed out at you," Myracle said. "When people get outraged they get angry, and then it becomes this weird argument instead of a discussion. ... I should welcome people who aren't on the same page with love and generosity. ... And I didn't with you. And I'm sorry."
- "YA Author Apologizes To 'Wall Street Journal' Critic," by Neal Conan, NPR, 6 July 2011.
I could say so much more, but that concludes my three minutes of fame. Thank you for this opportunity to speak and provide handouts. I welcome any questions now or in the future and will be happy to appear at local PTO meetings or the like.
# # # 30 # # #
STATEMENT FROM SCHOOL PARENT DALE LAZAROVITCH REGARDING THE BULLYING SHE AND HER CHILD/STUDENT IS EXPERIENCING FROM THE SCHOOL ITSELF FOR MERELY ASKING QUESTIONS ABOUT SCHOOL BOOKS–SHE IS TOLD SHE IS SQUASHING HER SON'S "SEXUAL BEING" AND THE ENGLISH DEPARTMENT HEAD ROLLS HER EYES DURING THE STUDENT'S BOE SPEECH:
I attended my local BOE meeting to voice my concerns regarding a book that my 10th grade son was reading. My son came to me with an excerpt of the book and said to me that the language was disgusting and the topic was inappropriate for 10th graders. My son made a copy of a chapter of the book and highlighted what he thought was inappropriate and I brought it to the attention of the board and administration.
I was also told that I was "hovering and overprotecting my son," as well as "squashing his sexual being."
I didn't respond in public to the head of English, because I didn't want to stoop to her level. I questioned why the kids are not reading books to enhance their vocabulary to better prepare for the SAT/ACT tests. I was told that it was more important to expose our kids to other cultures (implied that we live in a very wealthy community) and that vocabulary building was as important.
What I really don't understand is that the school has such a tough non bullying policy for the students, yet when a parent has a question or a challenge such as this, I feel like I am being bullied.
I don't understand why the BOE and the administration will not respond to my requests. I understand that there are policies in place, but a simple email with an update from the meeting would be the least they can do.
I also found out that we as parents can opt out of books (a little too late for most), but my son turned in his book and was given a replacement. I was also told that next year that because my son will be in AP english we will not be able to challenge a book. I responded, that was not a concern because the AP curriculum is not picked by the head of the English department, but by the AP board.
My son did speak at the BOE meeting regarding the book choice, and the head of the English Dept was rolling her eyes at him and implied that I wrote his speech. By all means at 16 years old I do not have to put words in his mouth. He is the one that brought this to my attention, and as his mother I am his best advocate.
I never asked the school to ban or censor the book, I asked them to make the best choices for our kids.
NOTE ADDED 29 APRIL 2014:
I attended the above meeting. I really messed up my speech, or rather the three minutes I was allotted was not a lot and I rushed. What a mess.
Someone filmed me (via iPhone) and I am certain ALA is reviewing that now as I see my email, never sent by me to ALA, is being read by Chicago, IL, ALA employees using ALA email servers. So the school has definitely contacted ALA, an organization that, among other things, is the nation's leading facilitator of porn: http://tinyurl.com/DirtyDozenALA.
That said, the bullying of students and parents by the school itself is FAR, FAR WORSE than what I have reported above. If I get a chance I will be reporting more on this soon, perhaps publishing several people directly describing their ordeal.
If I recall correctly, a girl was, did I get this right, ordered to read some sexually inappropriate part of a book in front of the class? She opted out of reading it so she was placed in the back of the room, facing away from the class, told to wear head phones and to occupy herself on the computer while the class discussed the racy book? It was something like that. That's bullying. It is also a failure to comply with the law to provide an adequate education.
But oh, it gets even worse. One of her friends was acting on behalf of her coach, engaged her in text messaging, then her text messages, her private text messages, where emailed to many teachers? Did I get that right? And her father is being investigated by the school?
Oh, it was EXPLOSIVE!
Someone in the audience hinted I should be sued for supposedly making defamatory statements about the bullying the school is doing, then it turns out the bullying is WAY WORSE than what I reported. And there were anti bullying signs right in the next room! If you don't read that racy book, you AND your family will be bullied to teach others NEVER to dare challenge the government!
Oh I hope I get the time to do a full report on this. Just wait. This kind of bullying I see in school after school, setting aside the privacy invasion and the parental investigation, each one following ALA advice to keep the kids reading the inappropriate material by giving "alternate" material to the complainers and by bullying them.
Oh I can't wait to write about this.
URL of this page: safelibraries.blogspot.com/2014/04/SchoolBookChallenges.html