After reviewing a complaint made by a community member, school board officials in Republic, Missouri determined that two books were inappropriate for high school students. They removed one, Sarah Ockler’s Twenty Boy Summer, from the school’s library, and another, the literary classic Slaughterhouse-Five, from the school’s curriculum.
Although school board members claimed that the books were banned because they were not “age-appropriate,” the original complaint was filed by a Wesley Scroggins, Republic resident who argued that the books “teach principles contrary to the Bible.” Scroggins also went after Speak, Laurie Halsey Anderson’s young adult novel about date rape, but the school board decided that it was not sufficiently offensive to be removed from shelves or syllabi.
“I congratulate them for doing what’s right and removing the two books,” said Scroggins (who, according to UPI, didn’t attend the board meeting). “It’s unfortunate they chose to keep the other book.”
Notably, only one school board member had actually read all three books. Twenty Boy Summer, a young adult novel about a girl who struggles with moving on after her boyfriend suddenly dies, was deemed inappropriate because it “sensationalizes sexual promiscuity.” Slaughterhouse-Five, a classic which was included on the high school’s upper level syllabi, had too much profanity for high school students to handle. Superintendent Vern Minor said that he thought it was a better choice for college students (because, you know, that summer after high school graduation makes all the difference in terms of maturity).
Students who want to use the books for a school project can get their parents’ permission to do so. Given this loophole, it’s highly likely that there will be many more book reports on Twenty Boy Summer in the coming school year. Perhaps someone will even investigate how, precisely, these books contradict Biblical teachings.
Photo from wanderingone via flickr.