Assigned novel concerns some West Fargo parentsWest Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - A West Fargo middle school reading assignment has some parents questioning their child's curriculum, and calling out the district.
By: Kay Cooley, WDAY
West Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - A West Fargo middle school reading assignment has some parents questioning their child's curriculum, and calling out the district.
The science fiction novel 'Memory Boy' is on a seventh grade reading list at Liberty Middle School, and parents say its pages are full of graphic language, disturbing sexual references and detailed gun violence.
Linda Hankel sits sifting through the pages of Will Weaver's 'Memory Boy.' She's one of several parents who called in after her seventh grade son at Liberty had to read it.
Denise Jonas - Liberty Middle School Principal: “The concern was maybe around some content.”
Linda Hankel - Concerned Parent: “He was upset by the contents of the book and that's how I first got to know about it.”
It's a novel that teaches readers a lot about memory
Denise Jonas: “This particular unit tied into some science where they were talking about the brain and how the brain works.”
But aside from science fiction, Hankel points out pages full of swearing, sexual violence, and graphic guns detail.
Linda Hankel: “The content is not for junior high students”
Even a step by step process on how to load, aim and shoot.
Linda Hankel: “I don't know of any classic that I’ve read that taught me how to shoot a gun, and how to point it, load it, and kill somebody with it.”
With hundreds of students and all of these books to choose from, even some classics like 'To Kill A Mockingbird' or 'Tom Sawyer' have content that could offend some.
Denise Jonas: “What are the strengths versus the weaknesses, how do we tap into the interest of our child? Because one of the things we really want to do in reading is have students love reading.”
Jonas says in all of the books, they do their best to guarantee the good outweighs the bad.
But parents argue the fiction selected, Shouldn't be a guide on how to kill.
Linda Hankel: “With school shootings that have been going on nationwide and the problems in the schools, we have more security then we've ever had, parents have to sign in and out of the schools, but we're doing nothing about the curriculum.”
Denise Jonas: “We always try to avoid areas where they could be concerning and harmful to our students and that's a given.”
Jonas says school policy allows them to examine concerns from parents and make changes to reading material if necessary.
Seventh graders are now reading 'The Hunger Games.' Teachers give alternate reading options to students who don't want to read it.