A group of parents incensed about mature themes in assigned readings and “dirty dancing” at school dances is taking a stand.
Parents & Community Advocates for PCCS, a group led by parent Tina Waldrep, has pushed for the removal of Graham Swift’s Waterland and Toni Morrison’s Beloved from Plymouth-Canton schools’ required texts, citing extreme violent and sexual content.
Superintendent Jeremy Hughes removed Waterland from assignment after Barb Dame, a district parent and wife of former school board candidate Matt Dame, complained about the book’s content. After , Hughes agreed to . Beloved will be reviewed Wednesday by school administrators.
The group met Monday at the to discuss its future course of action, including having a presence at Tuesday's Board of Education meeting.
Barb Dame said she never imagined the type of content that would be in the two books, but she particularly cited the content in Beloved.
“(Waterland) was the appetizer,” she said. “The second book (Beloved) is so, so explicit, and there’s so much stuff in there.
Barb Dame said her 17-year-old daughter showed her the book, telling her mother, "Tell me that's not pornography."
Matt Dame said the books in question were never vetted by the district and said books aren’t held to the same content ratings of television and films, so it’s hard for parents to know what is appropriate for their students.
“Books get a slide,” he said.
Tina Waldrep, whose husband, Ken, at Plymouth High School’s homecoming dance in October 2011, said the district is not enforcing existing rules and that the book controversy is a continuation of enforcement problems identified during that dance. She said she hopes the school will consider using parents such as herself as hall monitors in the future to help enforce the rules.
She told the 15-20 parents at the meeting that in order to succeed, the group will need to remain visible to the school board and administrators.
“We’re not going away until we see the code of conduct enforced,” she said.
The group maintains a website, p-cap.org, for concerned parents that contains excerpts of the books in question, contact information for school board members and administrators and documents to file complaints to the district.
Waldrep urged parents to join her at to speak about their concerns regarding student misconduct and inappropriate reading material, calling on concerned parents to wear blue so they can identify each other and sit together.
The Plymouth-Canton Community School Board of Education will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the , 454 S. Harvey St., in downtown Plymouth. An organizational meeting will be held beforehand at 6 p.m. to assign board officers, but no public comment segment will be provided until the 7 p.m. meeting.