Friday, April 13, 2007

Who's in Charge of OLSD Literature Review Process?

On March 20th, the Olentangy Local School District approved its new policy on literature selections.

According to the school's press release on the policy:

...parents who request information on literature selection will receive a review document. On that review document, parents will find a summary of the selection, its connection with state, national or district standards, the instructional rationale, alternate recommended reading assignments and literary reviews. Most of the information populating the document is from third-party external sources and reviews such as the School Library Journal, Publisher’s Weekly or the National Secondary Library Association. Other information, such as the relationship to the district’s curriculum maps, will be linked to district resources.

As quickly as one can say Webster's Dictionary, this policy has been used by the School Administration to remove another important book that our high school aged kids should be given the opportunity to read and discuss in the classroom.

The book, Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chobsky, was removed from the Olentangy Liberty freshman reading list because it was "not an appropriate selection for school due to controversial nature of some the content."

According to an unnamed source close to the story, the decision to remove the book was based on a single complaint Barbara Reierson, who brought about the decision last summer to remove two books from the OLSD summer reading list.

If the school administration were abiding by its policy, it would have found that the School Library Journal has discussed the merits of this specific book. In an article about censorship, the SLJ writes that older students deserve to have access to (the book). If the novel is removed from the state’s high school libraries without a formal challenge, and without due process, then censorship has occurred. School administrators should be reminded of Island Trees Union School District No. 26 vs. Pico, a case in which the Supreme Court ruled that books could be removed from school libraries only if they were “educationally unsuitable.”

In its review of the book, the School Library Journal writes Charlie develops from an observant wallflower into his own man of action, and, with the help of a therapist, he begins to face the sexual abuse he had experienced as a child. This report on his life will engage teen readers for years to come."

As a parent, I want my child to understand these issues as teenagers as it will only make them a better adult in the years ahead. The lost opportunity to not have high school students discuss important topics like this leaves them to gossip about about whether Sanjaya is, or isn't any good for American Idol.

The decision to pull this book comes on the heels of a controversy over the two High School newspapers in the district. The most worrisome of quotes coming from the board member, Julie Wagner Feasel, who said "I am not in favor of censorship, but in journalism, you have to take into account your community standards, and it is all right for the students to learn that what is OK for publication in Berkeley, Calif., may not be OK in Holmes County, Ohio."

That's the kind of ridiculous comment that will chase away any creative and intelligent person or business from this district and the region. Imagine the reaction of someone from a high tech or research company researching the area and reading such a statement from one of our elected officials -- one would scratch the Columbus area off their short list pretty quickly. And besides, we're in Delaware County NOT Holmes County.

Such closed thinking is quite worrisome coupled with the influence of Ms. Reierson causes one to shutter more than a little bit.


Anonymous said...

Who's in Charge of OLSD Literature Review Process?

Children, that's who. Children pretending to be adults. Children pretending to have judgment comensurate with the positions of responsibility they hold.

You have a 9th grader. Did you read her copy of "...Wallflower"? Did you read "Whale Talk"? If you believe that objecting to these books is "closed minded", then embracing them as suitable classroom text must represent enlightened thinking, which is the standard that NPR strives to achieve. That being the case I challenge you to read the objectionable excerpts from either book on the air--damn that closed- minded FCC and their decency standards.

No-Can-Do, that's right. So, if such material is not suitable for public airwaves, then why should it be suitable for public classrooms?

Anonymous said...

Your charge of Censorship in the removal of “…Wallflower” and its dire impacts on the community are inaccurate and nonsensical.

For one, the decision to remove this book was not based on a single, citizen complaint. The decision to remove the book was made by the district superintendent, who concurred with the complainant that the book was not appropriate as instructional text. The complainant merely brought this garbage-wrapped-as-education to the attention of Dr. Davis, who saw it for what it is and did the right thing.

As a technical matter, that book—and many like it being assigned in our Middle Schools and High Schools—do not map to the state or district English curriculum maps. The educational goal that drove the selection of the book(s) in question was to “…discuss social issues” involving “marginalized characters”. Clearly, this has nothing to do with teaching kids how to read critically and write effectively. If English teachers wish to teach Sociology, then they can do that elsewhere. As a stakeholder in my child’s education and taxpayer I expect that a district English teacher instruct my child, and others, in reading comprehension and composition. Moreover, even if it were acceptable for the focus of an English reading assignment to be on social issues, better texts could have been chosen. Even with all of the objectionable language and themes stripped from the book “…Wallflower” is still not an example of good literature. It is not well written nor is it challenging. Students learn to write well when they read well-written literature. To assign garbage like “…Wallflower”, “Whale Talk”, “Looking for Alaska” or “Chandra’s Secret” is to not take our kids’ intellectual capacity seriously. When 37% of Olentangy high school graduates require remedial English upon entering college you know there’s a problem (source: Ohio Board of Regents).

You also cite Pico. What occurred here was the removal of books from a classroom assignment reading list and not the school library.

You also seem to be confused about Censorship, which I find striking because your profession is broadcasting. Censorship is the suppression of private speech. You, for example, decide what is—and what is not—acceptable text for your (private) blog. I cannot make you post something that I write. Though you would be censoring my free speech, I would have no recourse for such actions. Conversely, publicly funded speech is not so free. Because it is taxpayer-funded there are a host of strings attached. As you know, the FCC regulates speech on public airwaves. The FCC evaluates broadcast content against a matrix of language that represents a public standard of acceptability. Likewise, public schools (school board, administration and teachers) are allowed to dictate the limits of our kids’ speech (spoken and written word, and artwork); and our kids’ movement and assembly (when and where they move and congregate)—all of which are Constitutional rights. The same limitations of speech also extend to student journalists writing for school newspapers. You may disagree with Ms. Feasel’s statement invoking community standards with regard to student publications; but she is both correct in her assessment and right on the issue.

The fourth bullet point on the district’s high school student handbook is “…students may not possess vulgar materials”. Students would be in violation of this rule simply by having these books and newspapers in their possession, on school grounds. This is not my opinion, but factual based on teacher and school administration-proposed and board-approved regulation.

My hope is that any person or company looking to relocate to the region or our district is thoughtful and intelligent enough to research and understand local school issues before rushing to judgment.

Anonymous said...

According to Tim Eby, books stricken from Olentangy district reading lists like "Whale Talk" and "Perks of Being a Wallflower" are "important book(s) that our high school aged kids should be given the opportunity to read and discuss in the classroom".

If Mr. Eby really believes this, then he certainly will have the courage to stand up against "censorship" and proudly post the following excerpts from Whale Talk to this blog, and argue why these books should be assigned to 13 year-old students (including his own daughter).

If he does this I will still disagree with him, but he will gain my respect. If he does not then his convictions are as shallow as his command of the issues.

These excerpts are from "Whale Talk"; excerpts from "Perks of Being a Wallflower" will be posted next.

Excerpts from Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher

• Page 2 “… folks in shitty circumstances feel less shitty…”

• Page 2 “..she’d had a one-night stand with my sperm donor to get even for a good thumping and had no idea the tall black- Japanese poet’s squiggly swimmer was the one in a billion to crash through the promised land….”

• Page 14 “ Everyone knows Chris’s story: born to crack cocaine, then got a double dose of shit just after his first birthday when his mother’s boyfriend wrapped his face in Saran Wrap to make him stop crying. At his sentencing the boyfriend said he only wanted to make Chris pass out, not cause permanent brain damage. Oops.”

• Page 15 “You look like you’ve been staring into a giant asshole… that’s Mister Shithead to you…”

• Page 16 “ you’re too chicken shit…Is this prick thing habitual…send all the Japs –back-to-Japan-with-a-nigger-under-each-arm…”

• Page 18 “You get treated like shit, then have to be ashamed that you’re the kind of person people treat like shit.”

• Page 19 “…educational TV documentaries about animal whose faces are carbon copies of their asses…”

• Page21 “…Who else can I get to piss off the likes of …”

• Page 28 “…chicken shit…”

• Page 29 “….as long as you don’t say shit or fuck…”

• Page 30 “… hanging out in the journalism room trying to outsmart the Internet controls the school puts on to keep us on the straight and narrow as we travel the information highway. I’ve just typed in “chicken breasts”, hoping the browser will spit back a little bit about chicken and a whole lot about breasts.”

• Page 34 “…ignorant shit…”

• Page 35 “…dual wheels in the rear and a camper on the back he still claims every cheerleader in school has been naked in…”

• Page 37 “…asshole…kick my ass…”

• Page 38 “…spoiled rich asshole…shithead…Goddamn…”

• Page 30 “… unconscious ass wipe…”

• Page 41 “There’s always a pearl somewhere in the shit.”

• Page 41”When my bio-mom Glenda was at the top of her druggie game, she would leave me for days,propped in the crib or carseat sucking on an empty bottle, crusted food on my chin and four-days-unwashed-shirt. Strange men came in and out of her place at will. I’ve heard my mom say a thousand times that if you give a drug-addicted mother with a kid under two, she’ll give you a ninety-five percent chance of that kid getting molested or beat or both…”

• Page 42 “…pissed…eating shit…”

• Page 45 “Hell, no…”

• Page 50 “…no butt-twitching…but her natural sexuality is jarring.”

• Page 52 “…survivalist assholes…”

• Page 53 “… found the biggest asshole…the asshole gets the good stuff…Some people will have asshole parents and turn out just like them….a hard-drinking hardass who’s never satisfied, and he used to knock his wife around.”

• Page 54 “… required three cheerleaders to bend over and flip up their skirts so people could read THS….grabbed Carly by the elbow, and jerked her toward the door, screaming that she was a whore and a bitch, and the next time he caught her showing her ass he’d beat her half to death.” “…That night I got a beer opener from the kitchen and a ball peen hammer from the garage and redecorated his brand-new Lexus; smashed all the glass and ran the beer opener down each side, fender to fender.”

• Page 55 “So here’s the deal with me and guys, bubba. If we’re friends.we’re friends. If we have sex, we have sex. I don’t sleep with more than one person, and I won’t go with anyone who does. We double up on birth control…If we have sex, we have sex.”

• Page 58 “…and they both felt some chemistry bubbling. She took him to her house, where they made fast, hot, electric love, uncharacteristic for either of them, to hear Dad tell it…the lovemaking transported him….the baby crawled under the truck and got caught between the rear dual tires…she discovered a small severed arm lying next to the white line….I thought I’d have to kill myself….or when I used drugs, and believe me, buddy, I used them all….”

• Page 68 “….nigger dolls…stupid black bitch…”


• Page 73 “…Rich decided Heidi had earned twenty-five “spanks” with his belt-ten for forgetting to clean her room, five for dropping her dessert on the floor after he’d told her to be careful, and ten for not washing out the dog’s bowl-and demanded that Alicia (her mother) deliver the blows to his specification. When Alicia turned out not to have the heart for it, Rich took over and Heidi was black and blue from the middle of her back to her knees.”

• Page 76 “… bitches…damn….”

• Page 79 “And let’s just say the Department of Children’s Services made up a bunch of bullshit to keep you away from your wife and kids.”

• Page 80 “…more pissed…”

• Page 81 “Shit.”

• Page 82 “…smartass…”

• Page 89 “…shit…majorly pissed.”

• Page 92 “Before that, when he lived with his mom, any bad guy who wanted to got his hands on that kid and did what he wanted.”

• Page 93 “…other than to make him drink urine out of a Seven-up can or trick him into giving a dog an erection.” “…zero bullshit…”

• Page 95 “…kick David’s ass…Man, what kind of fucked-up world is this?”

• Page 99 “…Assaulting the entire student body with your middle fingers is about as far as I stretch…I have one goal for Tay-Roy: for him not to get sexually assaulted on the deck by the female spectators from either of the opposing schools. Man, that guy looks like a serious hunk in a tank suit.”

• Page 100 “…asshole…nigger…”

• Page 104 “Damn, he says. I been on drug trips that weren’t that good.”

• Page 105 “What the hell…”

• Page 107 “Shit…”

• Page 108 “…arrogant asshole…Third guy after my dad left… couldn’t figure out which bed he was supposed to sleep in.”

• Page 109 “…but believe me, you’d damn well rather be brown than be somebody got done by his mother’s boyfriend…I’m a prick.”

• Page 111 “…eat shit…you’re pissed.”

• Page 112 “…assholes…treated totally like shit…”

• Page 113 “… as if I couldn’t give a shit…I invite Carly to my house for something to eat and anything else that might happen, since Mom is at work and Dad usually spends Wednesdays out at Head Start…”

• Page 116 “…you’re full of shit…”

• Page 120 “…shit…”

• Page 124 “…fucked up…they got a fuckin’ no-contact order on me…You fuckin’ my wife?…shit…I’m not sleeping with your wife…”

• Page 125 “…Niggers or chinks or whatever…It’s fuckin’…How would the fuckin’ cops know I’m here?…You black asshole…You are fuckin’ Aleeesha!… Nigger girl…”

• Page 126 “…Nobody fucks with my family…I tell my parents Rich thinks I’m having sex with Alicia.”

• Page 127 “…you sleeping with Alicia.”

• Page 129 “…he was one rough son of a bitch.”

• Page 131 “If some man-whale cheats on his wife, her anguish, her despair, is heard and understood by every whale who swims into the range of her voice. The joy of lovemaking…it’s all heard and understood…My parents were wonderful people, I suppose, but they didn’t want me to know the real skinny on sex or love…”

• Page 132 “… kick as many asses…”

• Page 135 “…for Christ sake…”

• Page 136 “Mott smiles and leans back on the seat, closes his eyes and simulates whacking off…It’s cybersex…”

• Page 140 “…leave me alone, you asshole…goddamn…you bastard…that son of a bitch…”

• Page141 “…shit…some bitch…Then he said I could make it up to him by having sex…He kept telling me to strip, and I’d say no and he’d punch my arm…he had me trapped and he said “strip” again.”

• Page 142 “… he was feeling me up again…I’m going to kick his ass…”

• Page 143 “… I will run that son of a bitch off the road…I am so pissed…That asshole punches out a girl…”

• Page 144 “… this shit…My mom can be a smartass…that asshole…some bullshit…ignorant shit…damn right…”

• Page 145 “…She’d kick his ass.”

• Page 146”…asshole…kicked her ass…”

• Page 147 “…what a bitch Kristen is…because she was launched on meth.”

• Page 148 “I was just going to kick his ass.”

• Page 150 “I am so goddamned exasperated.”

• Page 153 “….shit…”

• Page 154 “The trick to being a good smartass…”

• Page 155 “ He’s pissed…I’ll be pissed too”

• Page 157 “I guess some girls don’t feel complete unless they have two assholes.”

• Page 158 “He’s accused me of fucking you…He hates that I’ve been with a black man, and his worst fear is that I want to be with another one…man, this shit…”

• Page 163 “Fuckin’ A…Fuckin’ A…Fuckin’ A…It’d be shitty…”

• Page 164 “Fuck…Everyone knows Rance Haskins. About four years ago he killed an eighteen-month old infant by squeezing his stomach because he peed his pants…Rance got three years for involuntary manslaughter, was out in a year and a half, then blinded a second child by shaking her…he was my mom’s boyfriend.”

• Page 165 “Rance made her dance at the Déjà vu for extra cash. She looked pretty good for someone who took as much shit as she did…Rance wouldn’t let her use her own damn money to put me in day care…Soon as my mom would take off for work, he’d tie my leg to the pipe under the kitchen sink, give me a big ol’ aluminum bowl to pee in, and take off with his buddies, or invite them over for a little drugfest…Mom found me, my foot was discolored all the wayup my calf. Gangrene set in, and in the end they had to whack that baby off before…”

• Page 166 “My mother blackmailed Rance into puttin’ hard-earned drug money into a trust fund…miserable son of a bitch….”

• Page 167 “…hell of a gesture…”

• Page 168 “…piss anyone off…”

• Page 170 “That pisses Benson off…how in hell…”

• Page 172 “…began to call muscle masturbation…”

• Page 175 “… What the fuck?…Get the hell away from the door.”

• Page 176 “…Get the fuck away from me…GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM THE DOOR…if you don’t want your ass kicked…I do want my ass kicked…which is a very smart move for a guy drunk on his ass.”

• Page 177 “…just pisses him off…”

• Page 178 “…we’ve told the school to kiss our ass.”

• Page 183 “…I am pissed…He’s pissed.”

• Page 184 “…them fuckin’ jackets…goddamn victory party…hell…worth a shit.”

• Page 185 “Those assholes set us up…”

• Page 188 “…not only pissed…they’re pissed…”

• Page 189 “These guys are pissed…”

• Page 190 “…you shut the hell up.”

• Page 194 “…this pissed…dumb-shit mode…shit…

• Page 195 “Shit.”

• Page 196 “Fuck you, Jones…Fuck you…”

• Page 199 “…kick somebody’s ass…ass kicking for me…big-time pissed…”

• Page 200 “Kick his ass…ass…”

• Page 201 “This poor bastard…Fuck you…”

• Page 202” …little retard…go to hell…”

• Page 206 “…he’d kick Barbour’s ass…”

• Page 210 “End this shit…Assholes…”

• Page 216 “…hell, who could blame her? First time with a man after her husband is killed, and it ends in her kid getting killed and all kinds of shame for getting pregnant.”

Anonymous said...

Excerpts from The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephan Chbosky

Pg 9 “My advanced English teacher asked me to call him “Bill” when we are not in class,…”

Page 12 “And I opened the door to the basement, and my sister and this boy were naked. He was on top of her, and her legs were draped over either side of the couch. And she screamed to me in a whisper,” “Get out. You pervert.”

Pg 16 “…and my parents went to another couple’s house to get drunk and play board games….

Pg 17 “You know…a lot of kids at school hate their parents.”

Pg 18 “Some of them were trophies for parents to show their neighbors like ribbons or gold stars. And some of them just wanted to drink in peace.”

Pg 21 “Do you know what “masturbation” is? I think you probably do because you are older than me. But just in case, I will tell you. Masturbation is when you rub your genitals until you have an orgasm. Wow! I thought that in those movies and television shows when they talk about having a coffee break that they should have a masturbation break.”

Pg 23 “I mean it’s not like in the movies where the girls like assholes or anything like that.”

Pg 27 “ I guess I forgot to mention in my last letter that it was Patrick who told me about masturbation. I guess I also forgot to tell you how often I do it now, which is a lot. I don’t like to look at pictures. I just close my eyes and dream about a lady I do not know. And I try not to feel ashamed… One night, I felt so guilty that I promised God that I would never do it again. So, I started using blankets, but then the blankets hurt, so I started using pillows, but then the pillows hurt, so I went back to normal.”

Pg 30 “…the boy’s hand went up under the girl’s shirt, and she started protesting… After a few minutes, she stopped protesting, and he pulled her shirt off, and she had a white bra on with lace…pretty soon, he took off her bra and started to kiss her breasts. And then he put his hand down her pants, and she started moaning. I think they were both very drunk. He reached to take off her pants, but she started crying really hard, so he reached for his own. He pulled his pants and underwear down to his knees. “Please. Dave. No” But the boy just talked soft to her about how good she looked and things like that, and she grabbed his penis with her hands and started moving it. I wish I could describe this a little more nicely without using words like penis, but that was the way it was.
After a few minutes, the boy pushed the girl’s head down, and she started to kiss his penis. She was still crying because he put his penis in her mouth, and I don’t think you can cry in that position. I had to stop watching at that point because I started to feel sick, but it kept going on, and they kept doing other things, and she kept saying “no”. Even when I covered my ears, I could still hear her say that.”

Pg 33 “Sam told me as we were hanging up our coats that Bob was “baked like a fucking cake”.”

Pg 34 “Sam and Patrick started smoking cigarettes….he brought a can of Milwaukee’s Best beer for everyone…”

Pg 34-35 “ I ate the brownie, and it tasted a little weird… But this was no ordinary brownie. Since you are older, I think you know what kind of brownie it was. After thirty minutes, the room started to slip away from me…He’s stoned.”

Pg 36 “I still think you’re an asshole…I opened the door and I saw Patrick kissing Brad.

Pg 43 “…smear the queer… Patrick and Brad both got pretty drunk at this party. Actually, Patrick said that Brad was pretending to be a lot drunker than he really was…Beer before liquor. Never sicker….And they ended up fooling around right there in the basement.”

Pg 45 “Finally, Patrick just pulled up Brad’s pants, and said to him “Just pretend you’re passed out.”

Pg 44 “Nobody saw Brad and Patrick fool around…this went on for seven months. It got to the point where Brad was getting stoned or drunk before school. It’s not like he and Patrick were fooling around in school. They only fooled around at parties on Fridays… When most of the people left, Brad and Patrick went into Patrick’s room. They had sex for the first time that night. I don’t want to go into detail about it because it is pretty private stuff, but I will say that Brad assumed the role of the girl in terms of where you put things.”

Pg 46 “They only see each other at night on golf courses and at parties like Bob’s where people are quiet and understand these things. I asked Patrick if he felt sad to keep it a secret, and Patrick just said that he wasn’t sad because at least now, Brad doesn’t have to get drunk or stoned to make love.”

Pg 47 “… I think I like The Rocky Horror Picture Show….Sam plays “Janet”. It is very hard to the movie because Sam walk s around in her underwear when she plays Janet.”

Pg 49 “According to my sister, Sam had a reputation when she was a sophomore. According to my sister, Sam used to be a ‘blow queen’. I hope you know what that means because I really can’t think about Sam and describe it to you.”

Pg 56 “…when my mom’s dad (my grandfather) finishes his third drink…all of the family’s secrets, like how cousin so-and-so ‘knocked up’ that waitress from the Big Boy.”

Pg 57 “ …trouble when all the beer starts to hit my cousins….twisted in bladder positions and bang on the door…my cousins always have to go to the bathroom outside in the bushes…I should mention that my dad usually just sits real quiet and drinks. My dad is not a big drinker at all, but when he has to spend time with my mom’s family, he gets ‘loaded’…As the evening comes to an end, my grandfather is usually too drunk to do much of anything. My dad and my brother and my cousins carry him out to the car of the person who is least angry at him.”

Pg 58 “…I went to the mill…no work…none…I came home at two in the morning…pissed and pissed…your grandmother showed me their report cards…C-plus average…and these were smart girls. So, I went into their room and I beat some sense into them…and when it was done and they were crying, just held up their report cards and said…’This will never happen again.”

Pg 64 “…is a book called The Mayor of Castro Street. It’s about a man named Harvey Milk, who was a gay leader in San Francisco. I went to the library when Patrick told me he was gay, and I did some research….”

Pg 66 “… and poured everyone another glass of brandy.”

Pg 67 “ …and she gave Bob a handcrafted Native American marijuana pipe, which seemed appropriate…Bob gave Patrick an eight of marijuana with a Christmas card attached.

Pg 70 “She told me about the first time she was kissed. She told me that it was with one of her dad’s friends. She was seven and she told nobody about it except Mary Elizabeth and then Patrick a year ago.”

Pg 80 “…driver’s education class…They used to secretly touch each others legs in the backseat when it was my turn.”

Pg 81 “… just a bitchy ‘dyke’.”

Pg 82 “Bullshit!…It’s not bullshit.”

Pg 83 “You are so full of shit.”

Pg 87 “…saw bruises on my aunt Rebecca and finally got the truth out of my grandma.”

Pg 89 “….aunt Helen was molested….It was done by someone who was very close to her.”

Pg 94 “Everyone else is either asleep or having sex.”

Pg 95 “That’s what Bob said before he went to his bedroom with Jill, a girl that I don’t know.”

Pg 96 “ But the thing is that I can hear Sam and Craig having sex….”

Pg 100 “…I decided to never take LSD again.”

Pg 104 “Bob said that it was all about our parents not wanting to let go of their youth and how it kills them when they can’t relate to something.”

Pg 106 “ He even let me smoke a cigarette in his office…”

Pg 109 “Bob included a reprint of a pro-hemp pamphlet. And Patrick made this fake coupon advertising a free’ blow job’ for anyone who buys a Smiley Cookie at the Big Boy. Some restrictions apply! There was even a nude photograph (from the back)of Patrick if you can believe it….Mary Elizabeth told me she thought that Patrick asked her to put the photograph in the issue so Brad could have a photograph of him without it being suspicious,…”

Pg 110 “…Rocky has to touch Janet all over her body, and Sam was playing Janet. Patrick kept making jokes that I would get an ‘erection’…Once, I got an erection in class and had to go to the blackboard.”

Pg 111 “Bt the best part was the scene with Janet where we had to touch each other…. I did get an erection… the erection made me feel guilty in hindsight though…”

Pg 113 “ Sam did say that sex things were tricky with Mary Elizabeth since she’s had no boyfriends before and is a lot more experienced than I am….”What if I don’t want to do anything sexual with her?”

Pg 114 “ Mary Elizabeth hates high school and wants to explore lesbian relationships….and she hates her parents.”

Pg 115 “At one point in the dance, Patrick went to the parking lot to get stoned with his guidance counselor…”

Pg 116 “That’s when she told me she was pregnant….I do know her boyfriend said it wasn’t his baby, but my sister knew that it was…Since she is eighteen, she didn’t need Mom or Dad’s permission. All she needed was someone to be with her next Saturday at the clinic. And that person was me.”

Pg 118 “Then, I thought there would be some men who would buy the magazine and masturbate to it…My sister was the one who told me where babies come from. My it…I’ve been smoking pot ever since.”

Pg 124 “I think he was especially happy because I used to kiss this boy in the neighborhood a lot when I was little, and even though the psychiatrist said it was very natural for little boys and little girls to explore things like that, I think my father was afraid anyway. I guess that’s natural, but I’m not sure why.”

Pg 125 “ …and Mary Elizabeth came downstairs with two glasses and a bottle of brandy. She said that she hated everything her parents loved, except for brandy.”

Pg 126 “…It started on my knee and worked its way up the side of my leg to my hip and stomach… sat on my lap…started kissing….She took my hand and slid it up under her sweater…. Or what breasts felt like…Or how difficult bras are. After we had done everything you can do from the stomach up, I lay down on the floor.”

Pg 130 “ Sex things are weird, too. It’s like after that first night…”

Pg 135 “ … invited us back to his apartment to drink wine…suggested we play truth or dare, a game he loves to play when he is “buzzed.”

Pg 136 “What the fuck is wrong with you?…It’s too bad you aren’t gay…Then again, if you were gay, I would never date you….And I thought Brad was fucked up. Jesus.”

Pg 137 “And then I said, ‘You know Patrick? If I were gay, I’d want to date you.”

Pg139 “ He said he had a quarter of an ounce of pot left. So, I took some of my Easter money and bought Quick Marts or Truck Stops.”

Pg 143 “Next time just watch him a little fucking better.”

Pg 144 “they were all laughing and making sex jokes,…”

Pg 145 “God, that kid is such a fucking freak…”

Pg 146-147 "Basically, Brad’s father caught Brad and Patrick together. I guess that Brad’s father didn’t know about his son because when he caught them, Brad’s father started beating Brad. Not a slap kind of beating. A belt kind.”

Pg 150-151 “Faggot! I called you a faggot.”

Pg 154 “ I just drank because I figured that it was about time to stop smoking so much pot.”

Pg 156 “ … just wide awake on coffee and cigarettes and Mini Thins, which are these small pills you can buy at sister was also the one who laughed when I immediately asked he where babies go to.”

Pg 130 “ Sex things are weird, too. It’s like after that first night…”

Pg 135 “ … invited us back to his apartment to drink wine…suggested we play truth or dare, a game he loves to play when he is “buzzed.”

Pg 136 “What the fuck is wrong with you?…It’s too bad you aren’t gay…Then again, if you were gay, I would never date you….And I thought Brad was fucked up. Jesus.”

Pg 137 “And then I said, ‘You know Patrick? If I were gay, I’d want to date you.”

Pg139 “ He said he had a quarter of an ounce of pot left. So, I took some of my Easter money and bought Quick Marts or Truck Stops.”

Pg 157 “We sat on the eighteenth green…bought a bottle of red wine with his fake ID…”

Pg 158-159 “So they’ve been going out for a long time, and I think they’ve even had sex before, but this was going to be a special night. She packed a little picnic… So they have this little picnic with sandwiches and everything. They start to make out ….and they’re just about to ‘do it’ when Parker realizes he forgot the condoms. They’re both naked on this putting green. They both want each other. There’s no condom. So, what do you think happened? I don’t know. They did it doggie-style with one of the sandwich bags!””… There was a guy named Carl Burns and everyone called him C.B. And one day C. B. got so drunk at a party that he tried to “fuck” the host’s dog….. And there was this guy they called “Action Jack” because supposedly he was caught masturbating at a drunk party. And every pep rally the kids would clap and chant. Action Jack…..”

Pg. 160 “Second Base Stace, who had breasts in the fourth grade and let some of the boys feel them…..Sheila, who allegedly masturbated with a hot dog and had to go to the emergency room.”

Pg 161 “Patrick and I have been spending a lot of time together. We drink a lot…. One night Patrick took me to this park where men go to find each other. Patrick told me that if I didn’t want to be bothered by anyone that I should just not make eye contact. He said eye contact is how you agree to fool around anonymously. Nobody talks. They just find places to go. After a while, Patrick saw someone he liked. He asked me if I needed any cigarettes, and when I said no, he patted my shoulder and walked away with his boy.”

Pg 163 “Another night, Patrick took me to this place where they sell poppers, which is a drug you inhale.” …All in all, I think Patrick took me to about every place there is to go that I wouldn’t have known about otherwise. There was this karaoke bar on one of the main streets in the city. And there was this dance club. And this one bathroom in this one gym. All these places. Sometimes, Patrick would pick up guys… It was the night we went back to the park where men meet. And the night he saw Brad there with some guy. Brad was too into what he was doing to notice us. “

Pg 171 “Whoever lost the dance contest had to pretend he or she was having sex with a large stuffed Gumby doll,…. It was fun watching my sister dance the Time Warp on stage, but I don’t think I could have handled her pretending to have sex with a large stuffed Gumby…. Craig and Peter bought champagne to congratulate all the people who were graduating.”

Pg 173 “I hope Brad and Patrick decide to make up and dance in front of the whole school. And Alice is secretly a lesbian and in love with Brad’s girlfriend Nancy…

Pg 176 “… the limo driver got everyone stoned…”

Pg 178 “Fuck you, Peter! Fuck you! And Peter would say, “Don’t blame me that you fucked around on her since the beginning! The afternoon of her prom!? You’re just a bastard! You hear me?! A fucking bastard!”

Pg 180 “ After a while, they broke open a bottle of white wine and gave me another ginger ale.”

Pg 183 “ We were too young know that the bus driver didn’t care about our song. That all he wanted to do was go home after work. And maybe sleep off the drinks he had at lunch.”

Pg 185 “And then I froze because I suddenly remembered the other part. The fact that I met the man in the park at night. And the fact that I gave him one of my cigarettes. And the fact that he was trying to pick me up. I just sat there, hoping it would go away. But it didn’t. “Where did you meet him, honey?” my mom asked….. “In the park. I was there with Patrick,….”

Pg 186 “ Around twelve-thirty, brunch was over. All the cousins drove all the cars because the adults were still a little too drunk to drive to the graduation…I went with all my Ohio cousins, who promptly pulled out a joint and promptly passed it around….”Charlie, you’re such a pussy.”

Pg 190 “On the way home for the party, my Ohio cousins lit up another joint. This time I took a hit, but they still called me a ‘pussy.’”

Pg 192 “… I finally saw Mary Elizabeth with Peter. They were both drinking scotch and sodas, which Peter bought since he is older and had his hand stamped….She told me Alice was getting high in the ladies’ room…. Then, he took Mary Elizabeth’s drink out of her hand and drank it. “Hey, asshole’ was here response. I think he was drunk,…whisper smelled like cranberry juice and vodka.”

Pg 194 “…while I filled up my coffee with red wine.”

Pg 195 “Peter took me into the kitchen to make coffee, so I could sober up to drive home. I had about eight cups of coffee in a row and was ready to drive in about twenty minutes.”

Pg 197 “She was scared, and it wasn’t until she had a sip of whatever we were drinking or a hit off of whatever we were smoking that she would calm down and be the same Sam.”

Pg 202 “And we touched each other from the waist up over our clothes. And then under our clothes. And then without clothes….She took my hand and slid it under her pants.

Pg 208 “ I’ve been in the hospital for the past two months. They just released me yesterday. The doctor told me my mother and father found me sitting on the couch in the family room. I was completely naked, just watching television, which wasn’t on…. So, they brought me to the hospital where I stayed when I was seven when my aunt Helen died….But I kind of figured out that everything I dreamt about my aunt Helen was true. And after a while, I realized that it happened every Saturday when we would watch television.”

Pg 211 “It’s like if I blamed my aunt Helen, I would have to blame her dad for hitting her and the friend of the family that fooled around with her when she was little. And the person that fooled around with him. And God for not stopping all this and things that are much worse.”

Anonymous said...

Interesting comment: Did you actually read the book or skim for language? Keep in mind that what you as a parent feels is inappropriate is of course your choice for YOUR child. But you cannot and should not choose for other children besides your own. From what I am hearing, there are several books from which to choose on the reading list.Choose for your child, not mine! And keep in mind that your opinion seems to be in the minority. The rest of us believe in the right to choose for own kids and not for other kids.

Anonymous said...


I stumbled upon your blog...thanks for such a refreshing take on the "censorship" issue in our district. When will some parents ever realize that they cannot and will not choose for my child?! And no matter how much they want to censor literature, they do not have say in what I choose or what I deem appropriate for my child. What's next.....burning books on district grounds?? Keep up the great blog.

Anonymous said...

10:51 PM

My goodness...looks like Tim got some friends (no doubt teachers) to fight for him. He obviously does not have the courage to defend his nonsense personally.

Charlie's "awakening" includes seeking anonymous sex in parks with adult males. So, the author is appealing to those readers who may be confused about their sexuality to explore it in way that accommodates pedophiles and sex predators. No doubt the author is indulging in his own adult-boy sex fantasies.

If you think this is appropriate material for kids then you're deranged.

See, I represent the majority on this issue. It's really easy to argue against censorship as a generic concept, but it's really hard to argue that this crap should be assigned to 13 year-olds. Don't hide behind "censorship" like you are now: argue the merits of the book (which I have read, by the way). The language alone is enough to make it inappropriate; the themes are enough to make it inappropriate; and certainly the context to which it was assigned makes the book inappropriate (explore "social issues" in English class?).

If Tim Eby believes that he--and you--are the voice of reason on this subject then he'll dedicate a post to this, with the full text of the book excerpts as posted, and argue his case, in daylight. Feel free to weigh in on it also.

Anonymous said...

11:03 pm:

Parents do choose for your child. They (and you) vote for a school board which, in turn, sets policy and level-sets the superintendent on expecations; those expectations are then pushed downstream to the curriculum director, principals and then teachers. At least that's supposed to work.

So, the superintendent just last week decided that your child would not read "Perks of Being a Wallflower" and you have no recourse. Why? Because censorship did not occur. He has the right--and obligation--to decide what is, and what is not, appropriate educational material for your child and mine.

So get over your pretensions that
censorship took place. It's as erroneous a statement as it is intellectually lazy.

Anonymous said...

As a student at OLHS who's being personally affected by this, I feel obligated to comment on this blog. People, mostly adults, have been so freaked out about all this, and I don't see why. First of all, we had to get a permission slip to read one of 6 books that were on the list. Now neither Perks or Whale Talk was forced upon us to read. If we thought the book sounded interesting and our parents found it appropriate for us, then they signed it, it not then they would make us choose another book. But then, we were given another permission slip to have signed that was basically given to us because some parents out there are so narrow minded that they would be given time to actually read books on the list so that they would know exactly what their kids are reading. And then after all this, it gets taken away. And in my and many other students’ opinions, its down right crap. Things that are mentioned in this book are things that we hear everyday at school and on the bus. And if these parents have any type of technology in their homes, such as a TV, radio or computer, again, we can find all of this stuff, and quite frankly even worse stuff using those resources. And whoever you are, who claims that the book Chanda's Secret is “garbage”, you obviously haven't read the book, because if you had, you would be aware that it is about a girl whose family has AIDS and anyone who thinks that a book like that is garage, needs to get a heart as well as a reality check, because nothing is "garbage" about that. Ands by the way, you also need to get some real hobby besides skimming books and taking out pieces and passages, because doing that can make any book out there sound "overly graphic" or "inappropriate". And the time and creativity that these authors have to create these books, is to me, incredible. These books have won awards and are highly recommended by people who aren’t so narrow-minded and aren’t afraid of the real world, which is what these books talk about. Real things that happen in the real world. So unless you can write so amazing, award wining story, like these authors did, you need to get some serious help. The final thing I'd like to say is that if you have a kid, no a young adult because we’re honestly not third graders anymore, who's a freshman this year and you're bashing this book, you would be aware that over the summer, A Separate Peace was our summer reading for English, and if you have actually seen the Perks book, you may have noticed that somewhere on it, it says something about how this book was written in the style of A Separate Peace. So to all of you who know that this book isn’t going to corrupt our minds, I wish there were more people like you. And to those of you who think that reading these books will completely screw us up and damage our lives beyond repair forever, I feel sorry for you, and your kids especially, because you have been cursed with such a ignorant mind, unwilling to change.

Anonymous said...

To the Liberty student who wrote in...I am proud of you for taking the time to stand up for yourself,for others, and for freedom of choice.

Keep Reading! :)

Anonymous said...

you can rant all you want about how inapropriate this book is. But have you ever read it? sure, there are many bad subject manners in it, but behind these words, a lesson unfolds and is a truely great story for all to read.