Don’t Touch My Books, Bro!

by Crystal Bryant

I try to stay away from soap boxes, but don’t touch my books, bro!

Basically, a school in Knox County has had their STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, a program that I benefited from greatly in college) summer reading list available for a few months now. A week before school starts, one of the parents throws a royal hissy-fit over one of the books chosen, Robopocalypse, by Daniel Wilson. I’m a fan of Daniel Wilson. His books provoke me to think about technology and humanity and all the relationships between the two. The STEM enrolled students were supposed to read the book over the summer and discuss it in small groups this fall.

The parent, within their rights, objected to some language in the book. But, instead of accepting the alternative assignment (which had apparently been offered from the beginning because of the language), to choose another book and write a book report on it instead of participating in the discussio>ns of Robopocalypse, is pushing the school to remove the book from the curriculum completely.

The parents are completely within their rights to choose what books their child reads. (Whether and how far I believe parents should take that censorship is another discussion entirely.) What irks me is that they keep insisting that their rights have been violated, and refuse to choose another book for the alternative assignment, and want to force everyone else’s child to conform to their standards, to reject the right of other parent’s choices.

High school kids are in one of the most malleable stages of their lives, yes. And a good parent wants to do their best to encourage their children to become good people. But we live in a complex world, and no one believes exactly the same. If you want your right to chose for yourself and your child, you need to respect the right for others to do the same.

Stepping off the soap box now.