The word “fuck” has caused quite a stir in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. Its appearance – 45 times, according to parent and avid swear-word-counter, Kelli Smith – in young adult novel Shooting Star by Fredrick McKissack Jr. is reason enough for one parent to remove the book from school district libraries. Grudgingly, the Broken Arrow Board of Education will keep the book on the shelves.

I do feel like we’re at a point where it’s almost what we have to decide versus what we want to decide,

says Board member Jerry Denton emphasis added.

Yes, Jerry, there is such thing as a First Amendment.

Shooting Star is about a high school football player who starts using steroids to enhance his performance on the field, which ultimately leads to negative consequences in his life. The book was the recipient of the CCBC Choices award (Cooperative Children’s Book Council) and Kirkus Best Young Adult Book.

Smith thinks the school library shouldn’t contain books with language that kids aren’t allowed to use in class. If that were the rule, the library shelves would be pretty empty. Perennial favorites by Katherine Paterson, Robert Cormier, Lois Duncan, and Judy Blume would disappear, along with classic literature by William Faulkner, Toni Morrison, John Steinbeck, and Kurt Vonnegut.

No one has to read a book because it’s in the library. Parents can set the rules for their own kids – but they can’t make the rules for everyone else’s kids too.

[HT: The Clyde Fitch Report]