Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Freedom to Read

My wonderful 3rd grader, Matthew, is a bookworm. He typically reads 4-5 books at one time. I checked his backpack for his current books:
Whale Rescue
My Dog Does My Homework
The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby
100 People Who Changed America
The Bible

Guess which book is causing a small uproar in his school.
... yep, The Bible.

Now, Matthew's reading perspective is that The Bible is a collection of stories and he does a verbal book report when he completes a section with his teacher. There is no philosophical discussion, no religious lecturing. A simple book report on what he has read.

When I first saw Matthew take The Bible to school (3-4 months ago), I chatted with him briefly about it, made sure his teacher had no concern. All seemed good, until this week. I have been told that Matthew cannot read The Bible in school.

I checked my passport and I still live in the USA!

This is not about religious readings.
I would not even say I am "religious." My son wants to read a book. I am not going to tell him "sorry buddy, you can't read that book."

I checked a recent list of past Banned Books in the US.
Here are just a few great books on the list:
(note: The Bible is not on this list of 90 books)
Blubber, Judy Blume
Catch-22, Joseph Heller
Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling
Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain
Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman
Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck
The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger

This is crazy! I have not spoke to Matthew about this.
I don't know what to say to him, he's 9 years old?!
This is about our basic freedom of choice.

Perhaps someday Matthew will be the "101st Person to Change America." For now, he is an individual making an impact on his hometown.
Update 2/9/2008: Matthew and I received a call from a school official apologizing. Matthew may read The Bible at school and report to the teacher for literature credit in class. I am tremendously proud of Matthew for the discussion he and I had on this situation. Thank you to the school district for your apology.
What book would you keep your kid from reading in school?


SOUL said...

my daughter is 13 years old.. she has been reading since she was like 2-- dr seuss of course-- but reading. she has always loved to read, and has always read above her grade level. in elementary school she was reading at high school level. i have never censored what she read. (of course you know what i mean.. to an extent of course.)
but yes i find this a bit ridiculous.

plus.. of mice and men was required reading when i was in school..as was romeo and juliet--
if they haven't banned romeo and juliet.. but did of mice and men---
do you not find that warped?
that they say it is ok to commit suicide for love at the age of 13 or 14--

yet you can't even read the Bible.

when i was in school we still prayed as a class at the start of the day-- i don't remember anyone selling drugs in the bathroom back then.

but--- this is one more debate that will never be settled.

i suppose "we" do have the choice to pay for christian schools. but really-- "we" shouldn't have to. maybe "they" should find schools to pay for... rather than cause our children the confusion they do.

anyhow-- i'll shut up
prolly didn't make a lick of sense anyhow.

happy humpday.

Cheryl Engfer said...

This really pisses me off! Lola is a reader like Matthew and is juggling 4-5 books at a time. I would be honkin' mad if she chose to read the Bible and was told she couldn't! The nerve!! This is America--hello

Angie, how did you respond to the teacher? I agree not to say anything to Matthew, but I'd definitely take it a step further and talk to the principal. Hell if you don't get anywhere with him/her take it to the school board. Man this pisses me off!

Angie Weid said...

@Soul-Ya, made sense to me.

@Cheryl-The teacher and I are on the same page. It's the powers above that are causing concern. I'm trying to reach the source of this craziness, being a bit difficult right now.