I wrote a letter to the Editor?!!!
Prior to reading my letter to the editor of the Press Democrat, you should visit the following links (all of them):
Inappropriate Book (warning! graphic content!) (there is content here directly from the book that is R-rated--since I don't promote students reading it in class, I don't suggest students read this link)
I think the School Board's decision is unfortunate and was urged to write a letter to the editor.
I hesitate to post this, because I know that many people (friends whom I respect very much) will disagree with me. But, if I am bold enough to share my opinion with all of Sonoma County, I should be bold enough to share my opinion with my friends. I hold additional arguments regarding this situation, yet the following words were most important to share in the 200-word limit the Press Democrat imposes.
Please understand that I do not believe student access to this book should be denied. I do, however, believe that this book should not be REQUIRED reading.
My letter reads as follows:
Close the Curtain
I am greatly disappointed in the Santa Rosa City School District's refusal to change policy regarding the teaching of the book "Tortilla Curtain" in local high schools. This book should not be REQUIRED reading for high school students. It includes a graphic rape scene, extreme racism and is riddled with profanity. I see a blatant double standard. Viewing an R-rated film in the classroom requires a signed permission slip from a parent, yet this book (which would receive an R-rating as a film) is given to the student without express permission from their parent. Students are disciplined for using profanity, while this book spews pages of profanity directly into their young, impressionable minds. Teachers and parents express concern over the inappropriate, oversexualized dancing at school dances, yet they find it appropriate for students to be "exposed to these issues" through this book. The school board maintains that students "need to be exposed to these issues and they need to discuss them." Is this the only book that addresses these issues? If the school district refuses to remove this book from the list, at the very least they should require written parental permission prior to assigning this R-rated reading to a student.