Students hold 'read in' to protest optional reading lists - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Students hold 'read in' to protest optional reading lists

By Regina Russo - bio | email
Posted by Trina Edwards - email

WYOMING, OH (FOX19) - Students in the Wyoming School District staged a "read in" Wednesday to protest the way the district is approving optional reading material.

Some are calling it censorship, and worrying about what's next. Students and their parents held signs while others read books that have been called controversial.

"Historically great school system, but their losing respect for their teachers and basically putting them on a leash," said senior Luci Simon.

Instead of teachers deciding what they think is appropriate based on certain policies and guidelines, new rules have them rate possible controversial books and the principal and assistant superintendent will decide if it has educational merit.

"If you start down a slippery slope of banning or censoring books, what comes next?" asked parent Margi Mendelsohn.

The Wyoming school district did not want to go on camera to talk about the story, but the family who filed the complaint did.

'"No one's banning books. A book that should not have been put on a list has been corrected to not be there is not banning books," said Dale Hipsley.

Hipsley says he read a book on an approved freshman list, The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

"Goodness gracious, could a kid really read this aloud in class?" asked Hipsley. "Could this be talked about openly, this subject matter out in a classroom? Could they write about it in a paper?"

In his complaint, Hipsley cites more than 20 examples from the book, including subjects like homosexuality, drugs, sex and suicide.

"As a parent I want first shot at that and not introduced in classroom, when child may not be ready for that," said Hipsley.

Wyoming's superintendent won't say whether the book is controversial. only that the process in selecting it was not followed.

The district has not removed the book  The Perks of Being a Wallflower from the optional reading list, yet they are still reviewing the complaint.

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