Article Title: Should Raunchy be the Fourth R?
Subtitle: Parents should keep a close eye on what fiction their teens are reading.
by Warren Throckmorton, Ph.D.
Article Date: August 17, 2005
Published on website: Family News in Focus, a Web Site of Focus on the Family
This piece reacts to the MSNBC piece with correspondent Janet Shamlian from last week which I blogged about on August 17, 2005. This discusses recently published juvenile fiction books:
“Claiming Georgia Tate”
While I am not aware of challenges to any of these specific books, if they find their way into schools, there probably will be. Recent disputes over books in Lexington, Mass., Pleasant Valley, Iowa and Columbus, Ohio, have divided communities and led to legal action.
I read for the first time about one mother named Laurie Taylor of Fayetteville, Arkansas. This piece also informed me of a couple of more titles that I was unaware of.
Perhaps the mother of all of these disputes over school reading material is in Fayetteville, Ark. Laurie Taylor, mother of two school-age children, recently found numerous volumes of fiction that vividly described sexual acts of all sorts. "Doing It" features teacher-pupil sex, "Rainbow Boys" describes adult-teen unprotected sex, and "Choke," uncovering the world of sexaholics, was graphic enough to have portions excerpted in Playboy. Perhaps the worst find was "Push" by author Sapphire. Filled with graphic sex, perhaps the low point is the lead character's description of sex with an infant.
Taylor is formally challenging these and other fiction books with similar content. She is not asking that the school remove all of the books permanently from the shelves, she simply wants librarians to gain a parent's permission before allowing children to have them. She also wants the school to follow its own review policy while access is mediated by parents. The Fayetteville schools have a policy that requires the school to review materials parents find objectionable. For these reasonable requests, she has been pilloried in the local press as narrow-minded and bigoted. The school district has received a veiled threat of a lawsuit from national groups including the National Coalition Against Censorship.
I also loved Throckmartin’s closing statement:
If some parents want "raunchy" to join readin', 'ritin' and 'rithmetic, they are free to buy their own children sexually explicit material for consumption at home.