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23 years 1 month ago #63064 by PRES01
Does any school out there use the 'accelerated reader' program??? I recently was assisting in processing some books for the 'AR' program and came across a book entitled 'The Last Payback' by James Van Oosting. The front cover has a girl with her arm extended and her hands in the shape of a gun. Naturally this peaked my curiosity as it happened to be the same week that there was a school shooting. This book is about a 6th grade girl who's twin brother is accidentally shot and she's looking to get revenge on the boy who shot her brother. In one scene she has this boy tied to a chair with duct tape over his mouth and making threats to him while holding him at gunpoint. I thought maybe this was an oversight and brought it to the attention of the school before it became part of the reading program. They had me fill out a 3 page form, why I objected. I then sat before a committee of 9 district wide people including the school principal, a school psychologist, 3 librarians, 3 teachers and the curriculum director. I felt like June Cleaver the way they were defending this book. The psychologist said that we dont allow kids to experience anger and death. The characters actions were all out of despair. I argued that regardless of the reason, that doest not make it OK to have kids holding kids at gunpoint in books that are part of their reading program. Unfortunately, the committee voted to leave the book in the library without ANY restrictions. This will be the topic of discussion at our next PTO meeting. I want the principal to answer to all those outraged parents. He could have compromised and left it in the library but not included it in a reading program where the book is never discussed, or parents might not know the child has.(they can read this in class and may not take it home)
I urge all of you to check your libraries and read this book. It is socially irresponsible to include this type of violence in chilrens books in todays society.
Thanks for your input/attention
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