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Summer reading selection's language, not message, remains parent's concern

Posted: August 11, 2011 4:03 p.m.
Updated: August 12, 2011 5:00 a.m.

For those of you who may not be familiar with this issue, my problem is with books with excessive profanity being used in the Kershaw County School District. The one discussed in this article used the “F” word close to 20 times along with other multiple, in my opinion, socially unacceptable words. I have to refer to this word as the “F” word because it would otherwise not be printed in this paper, just as it wasn’t used in the WLTX news broadcast, but still OK for our school district to make it available to our kids.

To start with, I don’t understand concern about First Amendment rights. No one is asking these types of books to be destroyed and no further books like them to ever be written, sold or read again. If this were someone who was trying to destroy these types of books or trying to remove them from the Kershaw County Public Library, I would agree with the folks on the committee and back the authors of these books 100 percent. On that note, I would like to thank the author Chris Crutcher for donating five copies to our public library (again my opinion, this is where it should be) in this economy, I’m sure their budget is tight.

This situation was different however. Even if these books are removed from use in our school district they are readily available to students who could benefit from them through the public library and, of course, multiple bookstores or even downloaded. I am very disappointed, but not surprised, at the decision to keep books with this type of language in our school system and am sure there are plenty of books with the same messages that do not rely on such an abundant use of profanity to get their message across. I never had a problem with the stories or the messages in this book as I feel any topic can and should be discussed in a professional manner without the use of profanity. I would think, as a school district, we would be concentrating on teaching our kids how to respond to adversity and tough situations in a civil and professional manner so they don’t rely on profanity-laced comments to express themselves in their adult lives. 

Concerning the summer reading list, it would be nice for future lists to at least forewarn parents which books have objectionable or explicit language and content. I don’t know about other parents but I don’t have the time to read 40 books in one month in an effort to make an educated decision of which book is best for my kids.

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