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Double standard for students' summer reading

Posted: July 19, 2011 2:14 p.m.
Updated: July 20, 2011 5:00 a.m.

As a rising freshman to Lugoff-Elgin High School, I would like to thank Chris Crutcher for writing an article entitled, “To the High School Students of the KCSD…” It made me aware of my own school district’s hypocrisy. What I am referring to is the fact that while the book “Angry Management” by Chris Crutcher was removed from my school reading list, it is still required of me to read and annotate John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men.” The reason “Angry Management” was removed was that a concerned parent named Douglas Berry felt that us kids were too delicate to handle all the expletives in Mr. Crutcher’s book. However, I, as a 13-year-old girl, have to read “Of Mice and Men.” I only just finished Chapter 2 and some of the characters have already used both B words, used the N word, drowned puppies and expressed a desire to spend all night in a brothel. Charming, huh?

My point is that it is required of me to read “Of Mice and Men.” There is no alternative. It is either Steinbeck or I get an F for my first assignment of the school year. It is different in the case of Mr. Crutcher. There were other options on the summer reading list besides Mr. Crutcher’s book. If you do not want your child to read a certain book on the list, then pick another for them to read. It is not complicated. Parents have every right to censor their own kid’s reading material, but they have no right to censor mine. Oh, and by the way, Mr. Berry, before I read about your objections I had no idea Chris Crutcher or “Angry Management” even existed. If I had seen it on the reading list I probably would have passed it over without a second thought. But if it warrants such a strong outcry, then it has to be worth reading. I intend to march right down to my public library and gleefully consume it, profanity and all.

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