NCAC, with a little help from our friends, sent a letter urging Sugarloaf School in Summerland Key, FL, to retain Judy Blume’s Forever in the school library after the parents of one student objected to the book’s sexual content. The parents have requested its removal from the library claiming that Forever contains “a distorted view of sex, promiscuity, and is usurping parental control.”

Who is truly usurping control? Is it the book? Or is it the parents, whose objection imposes on another parent or child’s right to access material of their choosing?

NCAC Executive Director Joan Bertin writes,

Some parents prefer to keep their children from reading about sex; others may strongly disapprove of teen sexual activity and still not censor their children’s reading. Some parents appreciate books like Forever, because they can create opportunities for adults and teens to talk about sensitive topics. Even if the novel’s themes are too mature for some students, they will be meaningful to others. No book is right for everyone, and the role of the library is to allow students to make choices according to their own interests, experiences, and family values. No one has to read something just because it’s on the library shelf.

Lest we forget

“[T]he mere fact that a child is exposed on occasion in public school to a concept offensive to a parent’s religious belief does not inhibit the parent from instructing the child differently. A parent whose ‘child is exposed to sensitive topics or information at school remains free to discuss these matters and to place them in the family’s moral or religious context, or to supplement the information with more appropriate materials.’” (Parker v. Hurley)

Good idea! Parents, instead of complaining about material you’d prefer were inaccessible to your children, use it as an opportunity for parenting.

UPDATE: The school’s reconsideration committee met and decided to keep Forever in its library!