Saturday, April 28, 2007

Book challenge in Bartlesville

Author Maureen Johnson talks about having one of her books challenged in Bartlesville.

...For the past several weeks a committee headed by Mrs. Janet Vernon, Executive Director of Secondary Instruction for Bartlesville Public Schools, has been reconsidering the YA novel The Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson. A challenge to the book was submitted to the school board on March 4, 2007. Yesterday, the Mid-High Principal and I appeared before the committee at 10:45. By 2:00 this afternoon, I was informed by [a BHS librarian and committee member] that the decision has been made to pull the book from the Mid-High library.

Well, well, well. Looks like I went and got myself banned! Apparently I have written something so dangerous that it can’t be contained on the shelf of a high school library.
One parent saw the book, and this is what she had to say in a letter to the school. I’ve reprinted the entire text as it was given to me, removing only the names:

I’m shocked and appalled at the lack of discretion, and moral decline in the selection of books at the Mid-High library. Homosexual content, unprotected sex, underage drinking, and reckless promiscuity are not values that belong in a school library. I understand there are parents or teens who are dealing with these issues, but not all parents want their kids exposed to this material. Personally, I would not endorse any of these types of book as “14-and-15-year-old-friendly.” Giving teenagers knowledge without guidance is irresponsible and dangerous. As a parent, I screen my 15-year-old’s television, Internet, video game, magazines, and books. There are things she’s not mature enough to handle, or are simply wrong for her. Parents are a child’s best line of defense in a world that rushes to grow them up too soon. This book, “The Bermudez Triangle” has no moral fiber, and wrongly promotes a “do whomever you want to discover yourself” mentality. There’s no mention of the myriad of diseases, pregnancy, destruction of friendships and lives that are very real consequences of a “sexual free-for-all” decision. I ask that his material be removed at once. You have a responsibility to the children at school to protect them and educate them. Let’s raise the bar a little higher, respect moral values and a parent’s right to guard that which has been entrusted to their care....

Be sure to read her entire post. It's always interesting to see an author's reaction to having a book attacked. And if it interests you -- Amazon shows the book with 4 1/2 stars.

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