Recently, my wife and I went before a Book Reconsideration Committee to ask that the novel, BELOVED be removed from the Media Centers of all Brevard County Public Schools. This was done after meeting with the teacher and the pro-book principle.
BELOVED is a novel that features, among other things, ghosts, rape, bestiality and pedophilia. My wife and myself felt that it was age inappropriate for 14-17 year olds.
This piece is in response to an article by Mr. Torres, Satellite High ban of ‘Beloved’ book fails published in the Florida Today newspaper, this past Saturday and Sunday. Since Mr. Torres had not spoken with my wife or me as he did with members of the “committee” and Ms Van Meter, the head of Curriculum for Brevard County Schools, I felt it imperative that the complete story of why we protested this book be presented.
As parents, it is our duty to our son, to be very involved in his education and what influences he receives through that process. Life is tough enough, without altering reality. If involvement means going before a committee,that is hand-picked by the principle, which includes a former student of the teacher whose class the book is presented , so be it.
This work of fiction, is available to ALL students in High School Medica Centers; meaning that kids, age 14 on up, have access. In this course, there were 100s of other books to choose from to be on “the list of 10”, given to these children, without having to resort to this work of fiction with its attendant explicit language etc.
The fact is, books, like BELOVED, containing fictitious, inappropriate, explicit, sexual language and descriptive sexual acts; as well as detailed descriptions of body parts and the composition of bodily fluids, for 14-year-old to 17-year-old children for high school credit is wrong…by any author.
Why, if FLORIDA TODAY’S “Conversation Guidelines” for posting in their newspaper are;..”We reserve the right to suspend users and/or remove comments” , because of,.. “Obscenities, vulgarities or any variation of such that suggests, connotes or contains indecent, offensive or lewd speech”,.. are good enough for the public to follow; then why not the same standard for our children?
I did not read the complete novel; I did not need to. Ms. VanMeter is incorrect. The first 32 pages and other excerpts were detail enough for me to see this, for what it is; pornography;(“the printed or visual material has the explicit description or display of sexual organs or activity…”). When dealing with 14-year-old to 17-year-old students, a central theme has no bearing,what-so-ever, when that central theme is arrived at by using “Obscenities, vulgarities or any variation of such that suggests, connotes or contains indecent, offensive or lewd speech”; especially, a work of fiction. F bombs, f…ing cows, sucking c..ks, hunching from behind while holding breasts, vivid rape,..etc., etc. has no place in 14 year old-17 year olds classes.
I wish that Mr Torres had spoken with my wife or me as he would of learn that we agree with the premise that we need to look at ourselves and our history closely..but more importantly, completely and accurately! That can be accomplished without using age inappropriate indecent, offensive or lewd speech , which this novel is filled with.
For instance, we, as a country, and our children, could explore and understand such things as, why the chiefs of African tribes, willingly sold/traded their people into slavery or why slave Anthony Johnson, from Angola, achieved freedom in the early 17th-century Colony of Virginia, where he became one of the first African-American property owners and slaveholders in America, or why President Woodrow Wilson chose to début in the Whitehouse, the film THE BIRTH OF A NATION ; (a film that celebrates the KKK) and why he made it mandatory viewing for all government employees; or why President Wilson forced segregation on the government, including the military; or why the Democrats in Selma, Al. such as Sheriff Bull Connor attacked the Freedom Marchers, or why the KKK was started and mostly manned by Democrats, or why Martin Luther King was a registered Republican? All very interesting pieces of history that will further illuminate exactly what/who America is.
And all this can be accomplished without “Obscenities, vulgarities or any variation of such that suggests, connotes or contains indecent, offensive or lewd speech”.