Book’s sexual content raises brows at Vail school
December 19, 2008
VAIL, Colo. ” Parents filed a formal complaint to the Eagle County School District Thursday regarding what they consider offensive found in an 11th grade English class book in Eagle-Vail’s Battle Mountain High School.
The parents didn’t want to comment because they say it appears the school district is “handling this in the appropriate manner.”
Mike Gass, director of secondary education for Eagle County Schools, said the controversial book, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” has been part of the junior English curriculum for six years. This is the first time someone has complained about the book, he said.
The parents who filed the complaint were concerned about excerpts in the book that address rape, oral sex and masturbation. Gass said the parents who filed the complaint are being reasonable. They’re not asking to pull it from libraries or censor it, but to look at whether it’s really the best option for the high school literature curriculum, Gass said.
“I applaud them for that,” he said.
The school district will hold a review sometime in the next week to look at the content and value of the book, Gass said. The district reviews curriculum about every five to six years, but the formal complaint has brought “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” onto the radar for immediate review.
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Gass said the school board and staff will determine if there are alternatives to “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.”
“And I believe there probably are,” Gass said.
When offensive, explicit or controversial material appears in any subject’s curriculum, the school district requires students to bring home a waiver for their parents to sign, said Brooke Skjonsby, spokeswoman for Eagle County schools.
She said students whose parents won’t allow certain books are allowed to read other books.