Upset Over Explicit Novel for Freshman English

A school district in Maine has reaffirmed its reinstatement of a sexually explicit book several parents want removed from the local high school's curriculum. The Orono School Committee recently voted to retain the controversial novel Girl Interrupted in the ninth grade English literature class at Orono High School.

Girl Interrupted, a novel written by Susanna Kaysen, was affirmed for use in the high school curriculum over the objections of parents and local residents who take exception to the profuse profanity and sexual content in the book. Michael Heath, head of the Christian Civic League of Maine (CCLM), says this graphic work of fiction has no place in schools where impressionable young people will be exposed to it.

“It's a book about an 18-year-old,” Heath explains, “who ends up in a mental asylum and has a number of conversations with mentally disturbed people &#0151 conversations of the most graphic sort, especially sexual. The f-word [appears] 30 times in one page, and this is being given to freshmen in high school as literature. It's absolutely horrifying.”

School board members argue that using Girl Interrupted in the classroom honors free speech and that prohibiting it would amount to unconstitutional censorship. However, the CCLM spokesman feels the board members are making a spurious claim when they cite First Amendment freedom as a justification for obscenity.

The Civic League's representative at the board's meeting contested that idea from the floor, Heath points out. “When one of the school board members said to not have the book in the curriculum would be the practice of censorship,” he notes, “our representative objected and said, 'Look, you censor Playboy. You don't allow people to read Playboy in the schools, so that's a non-issue. You're lying.'”

The Orono school board has the responsibility to make decisions about content and does in fact make such decisions all the time, Heath contends. He feels parents and pro-family citizens in the Maine community have every right to be outraged over the school committee's decision to retain a sexually explicit novel in Orono High School's ninth-grade English literature classes.

(This article courtesy of Agape Press.)

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