Correction and Request Regarding Hadley Middle School
 
Correction and Request Regarding Hadley Middle School
Written By Laurie Higgins   |   06.10.13

This is a follow up from a recent IFI E-Alert.

Important Address Correction: The Hadley Middle School Board of Education meeting next Monday, June 10 will be held at the Central Services Office, 793 N Main St. Glen Ellyn, 60137. It begins at 7:30.

Anyone who wishes to speak at the meeting is asked to fill out a green form which is available when you walk in the door. The form is then turned in to the secretary prior to the start of the meeting. The secretary will call the names in the order she receives them. This gives the public an opportunity to be heard prior to the board voting on The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I recommend typing out your thoughts ahead of time, so that you don’t exceed the time limit (usually two minutes) and so that you stay on topic.

Important Plea: Please attend and speak. Parents who have the courage to challenge a book are usually outnumbered by “progressives” at school board meetings and consequently feel intimidated and beleaguered. Please come alongside the brave parents objecting to this objectionable book.

Every community member, whether they have children or not, has a stake in this issue. Children at Hadley are our future culture-makers. What they are being exposed to in public schools on our dime matters.

Whether you have children or not, your taxes are subsidizing the purchase of this book and the salaries of the teachers who are recommending and teaching it.

When schools are permitted to purchase, teach, and recommend a book like Perks, they are emboldened to purchase, teach, and recommend others like it.

The decision by schools not to purchase a book does not constitute censorship. Schools have limited funds and make spending decisions all the time. There is no reason that criteria related to obscene and profane language and sexual content can’t be part of the evaluation process. There is no ethical imperative that only Collection Development Policies may or should be used to assess whether schools should purchase a book or use it in curricula or include it on recommended book lists.

To demonstrate respect for all voices and for the use of taxpayer money, schools should avoid purchasing, teaching, and recommending books whose content is not just a little problematic, but so extreme that it can’t be read over a school PA system or printed in newspapers (I find it ironic that NBA player Roy Hibbert was just fined $75,000 for using the word “homo” once, while Perks is purchased with taxpayer money for public schools even though it uses “f**k” multiple times). In a time when there are far more books available than could possibly be taught, the prudent and respectful thing to do would be to choose books that respect the values and beliefs of all parents.

Conservative parents are often told that if they don’t like what’s being taught in public schools, they should send their kids to private schools. Well, that’s what’s happening. Increasing numbers of parents are justifiably choosing private, charter, or home schools. But, here’s another idea. How about those parents who want their children to read novels like Perks send their children to private schools or have their children read them on their own. That way public schools can maintain a rigorous curriculum while respecting the beliefs and feelings of everyone in their communities.

Conservative parents, ever deferential to the “progressive” “experts” who run academia, have settled for their woefully inadequate sop to conservatives: opting out. We eagerly accept it like starving Dickensian urchins thankful for the bit of gruel offered us by the great and powerful. That should stop.

Opting-out is neither a fair nor compassionate response to the reasonable objections to books like Perks. No child wants to be isolated (as Perks tries unsuccessfully to teach), and, in addition, opting-out offers a diminished academic experience.

Furthermore, opting-out often creates conflict between students and their own parents. Schools are now creating problems for families, problems that are completely unnecessary by making different curricular selections.

Finally, schools are creating a climate rife for bullying as seen by what happened to the daughter of one of the families objecting to Perks.

The easy-peasy solution is to establish criteria for text-selection that include considerations of language and sexual content and to make selections that respect the entire community. Perks may have some literary value, but surely there are other texts that provide at least as valuable a literary contribution without the deeply objectionable content. I wonder what books students are not reading in school because they’re reading Perks instead.

Click HERE for more on objecting to offensive books.


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Laurie Higgins
Laurie Higgins became the Illinois Family Institute’s Cultural Affairs Writer in the fall of 2008. Prior to working for the IFI, Laurie worked full-time for eight years in Deerfield High...
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