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Thread: Book "Too Offensive" to Return to Library

  1. The one your mama warned you about
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    Book "Too Offensive" to Return to Library

    Sep 11, 2007

    Teenager says book too offensive to return to school library
    By Lydia Seabol Avant
    Staff Writer

    BROOKWOOD | Fifteen-year-old Lysa Harding picked a book at random from Brookwood High’s library for a book report last week.

    Now, she doesn’t want to return it.

    Harding and her grandmother, Pam Pennington, say the book is too sexually explicit and shouldn’t be on school library bookshelves at all.

    The school library won’t allow her to check out another book until she returns this one, and that’s not going to happen, they said.

    “This book is sick,” said Pennington. “I’m 50 years old and I’ve raised 11 sets of kids and been through many a library, and I’ve never seen a book like this in a school library before.”

    The novel, “Sandpiper” by Ellen Wittlinger tells the story of a 15-year-old girl named Sandpiper Hollow Ragsdale who is on a “sexual power trip and engages in random hookups” for oral sex, according to a review by the School Library Journal. Ragsdale befriends one boy, but then is abused by another.

    According to the review, the novel takes a bold stance on sexual relationships.

    A review from the American Library Association’s Booklist, describes the main character as a promiscuous teen with an unstable home life who has oral sex with multiple partners. The review goes on to say that the book takes on difficult teen issues “with candor, humanity, humor and grace.”

    Harding, however, believes the book goes into too much graphic detail for a high school crowd.

    “I honestly believe that it should not be at school, because at my school they teach abstinence and no sex before marriage, but then all the book is teaching is how to do those things,” she said.

    The book has been favorably reviewed and is intended for older teen readers, said Jane Smith, library media specialist for the Tuscaloosa County School system.

    “It’s a cautionary tale for teenagers that oral sex is sex,” Smith said. “You serve a wide range of people in a library and you have to have something for all of them.”

    The school system has a procedure to complain about the content of books, Smith said.

    But Pennington and Harding are standing behind their belief that the book is inappropriate for any school. They don’t intend to return the book. Harding faces late fees or a $25 charge to replace the book if it’s not returned by Friday.

    “I feel that it is the most mature thing to do, to keep it off the shelves,” she said.

    Pennington has already lodged a complaint about “Sandpiper.” A committee will be formed at Brookwood High to determine whether her complaints are valid, and whether the book should be pulled from the shelves. Pennington must make her complaints to that committee.

    Smith said that if Pennington is not happy with the committee’s recommendations, her next step would be to speak to Frank Constanzo, county schools superintendent, and the issue could eventually be put to a vote before the Tuscaloosa County Board of Education.

    Harding’s book report on the book is due within the next few days, with a poster on the book due in a few weeks, she said.

    Pennington said she will take her granddaughter to the Green Pond Public Library to choose another book to write about.
    What do you think? Do you have the right to not return library materials you feel are offensive? Is it ever OK to ask that a book you find offensive be removed from the library? Are there some children's books that should not be allowed in the library?
  2. Keep Calm and Ride Unicorns
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  3. Senior Member
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    no, if you find it offensive don't read it, but you can't just not return it because you don't want other people to read it...hello

  4. Account Closed
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    It must be returned or it must be paid for in full so they can buy another.
  5. ash
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    this is like a bad movie, and i'd give it a 5 on my netflix
  6. Navy Wife
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    Wouldnt that be stealing?
    Isnt stealing against against the law?
    If it offends you dont read it.
    Bring it up to the school if the book should be taken off the shelves.
    They will look it over and if they think it should be taken down, it will be.
    Dont steal, its a bad impression your giving that girl!!!
    So when something offends her, is she going to steal it and not give it back?
    I dunno, id give it back to the school.
    Do not take life too seriously, you will never get out of it alive
  7. Happy wife...happy life!
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    Pretty idiotic if you ask me......

    My human sexuality textbook is almost like an educated porno mag. It's all about the way ONE perceives it...
  8. Community Leader
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    No, I don't think she has the right not to return it.

  9. JadedPrincess
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    No one MADE you take it. If you don't like it return it. YOU do NOT get to pick what I read.
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    HELL no. Who is she to dictate what is appropriate or not? Maybe another teen will read that story and completely relate and change her life.

    Where do you draw the line?

    If she doesn't like it, she can return it and never look at it again. Simple as that.
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