Outraged parents in Queens, New York were able to get a book entitled The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian removed from a sixth grade reading list because it featured inappropriate sexual material.
The New York Daily News is reporting that parents pressured the principal of Public School/Middle School 114 in Rockaway Park to remove the offensive book from a reading list that would have required all incoming sixth graders to read.
“It’s about . . . masturbation — which is not appropriate for my child to learn at 11,” said Kelly-Ann McMullan-Preiss, 39, of Belle Harbor, who refused to let her son read the book. “It was like Fifty Shades of Grey for kids.”
McMullan-Preiss refused to let the school dictate what her child was exposed to and planned to circulate a petition against the requirement when the school abruptly changed its position.
Apparently, she wasn’t the only parent who was outraged by the selection, which is a story about a Native American who transfers into an all-white school.
Parent Teacher Association Co-President Irene Dougherty told the News that at least eight parents had planned to boycott the book.
“Not every child is emotionally mature enough at 11 years of age to handle this content,” Dougherty said. “It really should be a parent’s decision how much information is given to their children.”
Sherman Alexie, the book’s author, defended it in an Oregon newspaper, saying “Everything in the book is what every kid in that school is dealing with on a daily basis, whether it’s masturbation or racism or sexism or the complications of being human . . . . To pretend that kids aren’t dealing with this on an hour-by-hour basis is a form of denial.”
Many parents disagree, citing the book’s vulgarity, inappropriate sexual material and anti-Christian content, which is why it ranked second on the American Library Association’s list of the 10 most frequently challenged books of 2010.
The book has been yanked from schools across the country and from entire school districts in Stockton, Mississippi and Richland, Washington.
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