NCAC’s Kids’ Right to Read Project activated to advise a reconsideration committee in Sweet Home, OR to retain the use of Alexie’s popular young adult novel in 8th grade classrooms. Parents and other citizens whose children do not even attend Sweet Home Public Schools have complained about the book’s content.
Before the book was taught, teachers in Sweet Home Middle School issued a 12-page permission slip and letter, detailing why they had chosen to teach the book and advising parents about what their child could expect to encounter in the book. Less than 10% of students’ parents returned the slip requesting an alternate assignment. Those students were given the freedom to select what book they would read instead from a list of notable books about the Native American experience.
NCAC is also concerned over district’s procedures regarding the challenge, in particular in selecting citizens for the committee. The committee was apparently formed haphazardly, allowing parents present at a board meeting — most of whom had publically complained about the book — to volunteer to be on the panel. The pastor of a local church, Community Chapel, was hand-picked to be on the committee. Members of Community Chapel have been active and vocal in opposing the book.