A group of parents of students in Guilford County Schools – and other concerned citizens – are calling attention to one of the books on a reading list for AP English students and demanding that it be removed from the list.
The parents claim that the book, “Salvage the Bones” by Jesmyn Ward, “promotes” sexual relations between a 19-year-old boy and a girl 14 years old or younger. They also state that the book “promotes that sex with a minor is OK” and they liken parts of it to “child porn.”
A text message call-to-action making the rounds to parents requested that those opposed to the book come to a library committee meeting at Northern Guilford High School on Thursday morning, May 12, to “speak or just make an appearance for support to throw out the book.”
That message added, “We need bodies there to support getting this book out of the schools. Get your friends to fill the library – the only way to defeat this is in numbers!!!”
Summerfield Town Councilmember Lynne DeVaney, who’s an elementary school teacher in the Guilford County school system, said the book was called to her attention this week and she was appalled when she read excerpts.
She said that, though students have other options they could read instead of the book, the practical effect of it being on the suggested reading list means teachers have prepared materials and tests for it and many students will feel compelled to read it.
DeVaney also said that the Thursday morning library committee meeting was canceled, but now opponents of the book are asking local and state elected leaders to take action.
DeVaney said she was particularly alarmed by a descriptive scene in the book where a very young girl is describing a sexual encounter.
That section reads, “Manny touched me first where he always touched me: my ass. He grabbed and pulled and my shorts slid down … He was peeling my clothes away like an orange rind …”
Some of the remainder of that passage is too graphic to be quoted here.
DeVaney said she was extremely concerned after she read parts of the book.
Ward is a two-time National Book Award winner – and one of those awards is for “Salvage the Bones.”
A description of the book on the Amazon website states that Ward “delivers a gritty but tender novel about family and poverty in the days leading up to Hurricane Katrina.”
No parent can shield their child from the social media and the influences of todays electronic age, but should our schools be adding to the mix by promoting sex and what can only be described as unacceptable behavior. This can best be described as a bridge too far for school or classroom discussion and assignment. Our schools are failing our kids in the basics such as reading, writing and mathematics as they push alternative history and social engineering. I applaud the parents who are sending the message enough is enough. I hope the schools and the elected officials listen.
But They are targeting the wrong person. You need to send the protest to Raleigh, not the local schools and disrupt the teaching day. Teachers only teach what they are approved to teach and give the AP students alternatives to reading materials. Very negative attacks are being aimed at teachers when it is not in their control what gets approved to teach.
The “Just following orders” defense was discredited years ago (1946).
The teachers decided from a list what they want the students to read. That is how it use to be. The teacher knew what the book was about. Any parent that cares about their child would question this book.
Yet again you refuse to consider broader realities. If you want to ban books that talk graphically about teenage sex, you’ll need to ban the Bible.
The Bible teaches against sex before marriage. Why would you want to ban the Bible? Some subjects need to stay out of the books in High School.
Have you read this book? If not, I feel you should do so before passing judgment. Remember it’s innocent until proven guilty or is this just a myth? This teacher taught a book, not a passage from a book, that was on the approved book list from College Board. Once you actually read the book, and form an educated opinion then and only then should you take up your issue with College Board not the teacher!
This passage should not be in a book approved by College Board. Someone needs to hold them accountable. A respectful teacher should have read the books on her list and stopped this also.
It is definitely better to just pretend that 14 year olds do not have sex or that books are the reason they
may . Book banners never stop at just one .
“Book banners”..? So do you advocate exposing 6 year olds to graphic pornography – or are you a book banner?
Six-year-olds do not take AP English classes.
I didn’t say they did, did I? Read it again and this time try to see the point.
You literarily state “…advocate exposing 6 years olds to graphic pornography…” in the context of an article about a book on a list for High School AP Students. How did you expect people to read your idiotic statement?
Oh, right! You don’t care about context. You just like to make fear mongering hate statements like your idol Trump.
You too miss the point, Einstein. You really are as thick as a brick, aren’t you?
Exactly! And these are the same people that say that they want less Government,and freedom of speech,yet they want the Government to dictate what we are allowed to read lol.The hypocrisy is astounding.
This article says nothing about dictating what you read. In fact, the opposite is true, as it’s about this book being dictated onto students by virtue of being on the class reading list. Those complaining want it removed from that list, anyone and everyone remains welcome to read it on their own initiative.
It is better to make sure 14 year olds are not left alone to have sex. They can’t drive. Parents should know where their kids are. We are to train teenagers to not have sex. This book is not helping the cause. Are you giving in to this?
I listened to the author speak of the book on NPR a while back. It is a gritty realistic view of poverty from a young girl’s perspective. Can be a very eye opening read I suspect. But can certainly see how some parents are not mature enough in their relationship with their high school age kids to be comfortable for them to read such a story.
Given all the news coverage of potential changes in abortion law, reading about a teen pregnancy and how it impacts a young girls life is likely not a bad read for teens that have a mature relationship with their parents where they can talk about issues such as this book covers.
Ah, so this is the parents’ fault?
You’re a joke.
Like I said. Not all parents are mature enough. Are you one that supports banning books to “protect” your children?
Having age appropriate reading material for children is not book banning.
You don’t think high school aged kids can handle a few paragraphs about sex in a book? You clearly have no idea what kids that age read and watch and talk about on a daily basis.
But chris you be your liberal self so you be you.
Those remarks are definitely unfair. These books should not be in our Schools. Why would you have a book with these words? I suggest whomever chooses these books do a better job.
Oh no! Did a book have “no no” words in it? Hate to break it to you but by the time kids have gotten to HS, they are well versed in your “no no” words and a range of other topics.
Who has the responsibility to review books that are included in the curriculum of the Guilford County Schools? Do they actually read the books or do they just read the endorsements by others? The person who is responsible for allowing such pornography in our school system should be fired immediately. This is a great example of a lack of employees failing to perform the work they were supposed to be in charge of which is protecting our students. Change needs to take place in the school administration from the top to the bottom. Why do you think they suddenly “cancelled” the meeting? They cannot stand up to the pressure from the parents. Take back the schools by voting for a new school board and reject the bonds!
I’m constantly in awe of the “Karens” in the world. Their children had an option to choose another book. If they are so invested and involved, or lack there of, in their children, why didn’t their child choose a different book from the approved list? We live in a “free” and democratic country where choice is available. Sounds like the parents need to accept an award winning book that isn’t white washed and move on with their lives.
It’s not a list of approved books to chose from. It’s a list of books students should read for the course. I understand that suggested reading list are often unnecessarily bloated and related to the classroom teachings, but the implication of a suggested list is that you’ll need to read everything on the list in order to be prepared for each segment of the class.
And what else do you think our children & grandchildren are getting from our Democrat-controlled school boards?
Are your children spying on you yet?
It’s just a matter of time, Miller. These corruptions of our children are so the Left can establish that children belong to the state, not the family. If the family – the parents – dare to dissent, they’re labeled “domestic terrorists”, and the machinery of the state is directed at them.
America long ago ceased to be a free country.
FBI = KGB.
To all parents of adolescents and teens: You are the guardians of your children. Everything is crazy now and it’s very hard to keep your mind in gear, but you can do it. Your children are the most important of all. Engage with them and really listen, but you are their guides, no one else.
Ok fine let’s pretend that these real life things don’t happen and the kids who went through worse in real life will feel more alienated and the ones who have never been exposed to it will go to college next year with no clue about different lived experiences. No one is promoting living through the events of this book, Karen.
May I just say, the teachers who are using this book as a part of their curriculum are not promoting this type of behavior. It is a topic that I, along with many others, feel is necessary to talk about with a group of students at this age. It is a real thing in this world and this book could be used as a way to promote awareness on the topic. Also, these teachers are the most kind, sweet, and selfless teachers I have ever met in all of my high school life. The teacher that I had as a senior at Northern made it very clear to our class that she understood if we felt uncomfortable reading this book as it contains stronger topics. You can tell she sincerely meant it.
It is not your place ‘to bring awareness’ to anything. Teach the 3 R’s & sned them home. Otherwise, yes, you are promoting, or at a minimum enabling those who do promote this behavior.
Okay Karen. Let’s not get feisty now. I’m just saying, this book is also part of the curriculum that these teachers are required to teach. ALSO, this book is one of the essay topics you can write about on the AP exam. Have you even read the book yourself? This is not all the book is about. If your child is in this class, they are at the age of going to college so they need to be aware these topics happen in real life.
What happened to critical thinking and viewpoint diversity that conservatives called for just a few years ago? Now it’s all about reading, writing, and arithmetic.
There seems to be a concerted national effort by the right to undermine public education as a whole, local public schools and public school systems, and public school teachers as a profession. Why? To funnel taxpayer dollars into private schools where religion will probably be taught as fact and/or religious participation will be required and where alternative science and history might be taught. Those claiming to oppose indoctrination seem to advocate for vouchers to send students to schools where actual indoctrination is the norm; and many probably frequent far-right propaganda sources without realizing the irony of that.
Established science and history should be taught, not whitewashed history and rejection of certain science that the Republican Party dismisses because of lobbying and industry donations. And students need way more than just reading, writing, and arithmetic to succeed in today’s world; they need 21st century skills, critical thinking, collaboration (including with people who have different religious and political views), fact checking, communication, technology, awareness of their rights, and much more. Attempts to present issues in a balanced way should be made; for example, the US is neither a perfect country that’s never been racist nor a cesspool of ongoing intentional racism and oppression by all people. Public schools should be as objective as possible when it comes to religion and politics, without any religious view or political party being promoted as true or desirable to align with; and any schools that receive taxpayer dollars should have to abide by this as well.
So, conservatives and Republicans, as successful as the constant boogeymen and manufactured outrage over education may be in getting people to vote emotionally, if it was actually about the kids, you wouldn’t need to resort to attacking education and teachers by exaggerating things and misrepresenting public schools as a whole based on specific instances like these without the full context, probably without reading the book to see that it apparently doesn’t promote what’s being objected to. But as others have pointed out, if you want questionable acts in books banned even when they’re not promoted, then the Bible must be banned as well (Ezekiel 23:20, Genesis 19:4–8 and 30-36, et al).
Then why offer it as part of school curriculum? Students are bombarded with enough sexually permissive stimuli, the schools need to step out. Why use this type of book when there are classics that have just as much or more life lessons. I have asked numerous young people if they have read such classics. They have never even heard of them much less read them. The schools need to get back to true education and leave out the social indoctrination.
I’m sorry, but your feelings are mistaken. The “educators” need to deliver education, not a progressive social agenda.
These Leftist programs are what used to be called “contributing to the delinquency of a minor” – which was criminal.
Only ignorant parents would beleive you. Just sayin…
I’d remain anonymous too if I was so emo!
Have any of the critics read the book? Probably not.
The reality of sexual abuse is real and needs to be discussed.
Refer to a review from National Public Radio: https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=143141874
Salvage the Bones
(Bois Sauvage #1)
by Jesmyn Ward (Goodreads Author)
3.95 · Rating details · 56,087 ratings · 6,964 reviews
Winner of the 2011 National Book Award for Fiction
A hurricane is building over the Gulf of Mexico, threatening the coastal town of Bois Sauvage, Mississippi, and Esch’s father is growing concerned. A hard drinker, largely absent, he doesn’t show concern for much else. Esch and her three brothers are stocking food, but there isn’t much to save. Lately,
Esch can’t keep down what food she gets; she’s fourteen and pregnant. Her brother Skeetah is sneaking scraps for his prized pitbull’s new litter, dying one by one in the dirt, while brothers Randall and Junior try to stake their claim in a family long on child’s play and short on parenting.
As the twelve days that comprise the novel’s framework yield to the final day and Hurricane Katrina, the unforgettable family at the novel’s heart—motherless children sacrificing for each other as they can, protecting and nurturing where love is scarce—pulls itself up to struggle for another day.
A wrenching look at the lonesome, brutal, and restrictive realities of rural poverty, “Salvage the Bones” is muscled with poetry, revelatory, and real. (less)
We’re not assailing the literary relevance of the books, we’re quarreling with their appropriateness for little children.
And while it’s obvious that you are one of the teachers involved, it’s also obvious that you have their level of inadequacy : the term is “Quidnunc” not quidnunk (Latin : what now, literally).
You’re displaying the incompetence of public schools. Probably better that you shut up.
HS school kidd are little children? That is one of you top most ignorant statements you have ever made. What a joke.
You’re reduced to caviling. You’re pathetic.
PS That is a big world that you will need to look up.
I’m guessing a lot of the outrage is from people for whom the subject hits a little too close to home. People don’t like being reminded of what their life could be like, often it’s only avoided because of one or two lucky breaks.
You guess wrong.
It’s a book, for a college level class. I was required to read Watership Down in 6th grade, one of the most violent stories I’ve ever read. But hey, it was about bunnies. Maybe that’s why no parents complained about it then. Or what about Lord of the Flies where young boys murder each other in descriptively brutal ways. I had to read that in middle school too. I Don’t remember anyone trying to ban that one. Stories about life, with uncomfortable subject matter, is a part of learning. Didn’t I mention it’s for a college level English class? Grow up.
Lighten up prudes! Talk to your kids and quit trying to ban books.
As a student of the teacher this is ridiculous. This book was very eye opening to me and other classmates. As most of the class is 17 or 18 we should not be sheltered from what this book covers.
If is in the media center then that means in available to 15yr old and that’s unacceptable. Also you’re free to read it on your own time without running over the consent of all the other parents.
We really are Slouching towards Gomorrah. Whatever happened to reading and reporting on the classics? Oh wait, they’re not “woke” and “progressive” enough, so they’ve been discarded. We are educating our minor children to be future activists/community organizers/socialists with no moral compass.
Siarad Cymraeg, bach?
This is from the same county where there’s a middle school trying to start a SATAN club! Guilford County School parents should be up in arms about the fact that the curriculum taught is only so the children can pass standardized test. The students aren’t properly being prepared for college. My daughter is in middle school and has never had a spelling test in school. She hasn’t even been taught that the plural of strawberry is strawberries. I had to teach her that among other things.
I believe you. The government monopoly schools are grossly inept and incompetent. Worse still, they have become left wing indoctrination facilities that shamelessly attempt to indoctrinate and debase our children.
The school didn’t try to start a Satan club. An outside group requested permission to start a Satan club. Big different there Karen.
June 3rd 230pm at Northern Guilford High School I’m having a meeting with the school reps in the media center to discuss removing “Life is Funny” by ER Frank. Very graphic, pornographic book.
The book is real life in poverty, people need to know what it is like. The book does not promote teenage sex, if anything it would discourage it. Good book for parents to read with their children if they are knowledgeable enough to understand and explain how real life is for many people. Hiding real life situations from our teenage young adults is not usually a good thing long term.
Writing about a subject is not the same thing as promoting it. Ward writes to expose the ills that come from ignorance and poverty, not to promote them. The point of literature is to expose readers to new ideas and stimulate thinking. Perhaps after reading the book in question a young adult might think, ” That won’t be me. I don’t want any to live like that.” What makes anyone jump to the conclusion that reading about an unpleasant sexual encounter such as the one under consideration promotes underage sex? It may do just the opposite.
Ward is not promoting underage sex, she is promoting understanding the results of ignorance and poverty. The purpose of literature is to expose the reader to new ideas and fresh perspectives and to new ideas and fresh perspectives. It is then up to the reader to consider those ideas and make personal judgments. A young adult might read the scene in question, think about it, and come to the conclusion that he or she does not want to live that way. At the same time they might better understand people who do.
This book is about real life people in poverty. I have seen it and the book touches a subject that many students should be aware of. This book does not promote teenage sex, but it does let you know what it is like to live in poverty in many areas. Hiding real life drama from teenagers is not always the best thing long term. Parents should read this book with their teenage young adults and help them understand the situation many people are faced with today. Understanding what real life is like in certain places will help people realize this is not what they want to happen to them. In a country where people say they want less government they seem to be asking for more government in so many cases. Could this one of them.
Maybe we should ban the Bible too. It promotes prostitution, murder, greed, and sex among a bunch of other things LOL