Some parents and students are voicing their strong opposition to the decision by Plymouth-Canton Community Schools' interim superintendent, Jeremy Hughes, to pull Graham Swift's novel, "Waterland," from Salem High's college-level Engish class. Here are just a few comments, posted on Canton Patch as well as Plymouth and Canton Patch Facebook pages:
From Canton Patch Facebook:
Prashant Andrade wrote, "I am, as the parent of a junior at PCEP, in the words of the interim superintendent, "deeply offended and shocked" that this book on the AP English list was banned..."
Anne Heidemann added, "If anything, he's just ensured that every kid will want to read it."
Marcia Peterson Buckie agreed, writing, in part, "To the parent who complained, or for another who does so, please give careful consideration about how your requests will negatively affect others, and instead make accomodations for your child."
Several commenters mentioned that they now planned to either read the book or buy it for a high-school aged child.
Former Plymouth-Canton Educational Park student Jennie Rokakis wrote that she read the book during her time as an AP English student. "The book already had a few paragraphs that were covered over permanently so you couldn't read them, which I already found absurd, so I'm not sure why the whole book needs to be banned. It is a very valuable book to the curriculum. I am not a fan of censorship. The fact that it was banned over only one parent complaining is crazy. Soon that junior or senior will be in college and can read the book on their own, we can't shelter them forever. The things we see on TV are worse than the couple of paragraphs that were blocked out."
Mike Pare wrote that he emailed Hughes to complain and got a quick response, which basically echoed what Hughes has told others, including Canton Patch, that he felt many other parents would be upset by the text. Pare went on to write, "...he didn't say how he knew what parents would think or why a majority of parents objecting would be an adequate reason for censorship..."
From Plymouth Patch's Facebook page:
Jan Waller wondered "What will get pulled next?"
Hughes move may have had an opposite reaction, suggested Kelly O'Donnell, who wrote, "I think the surest way to get a high school kid to read a book is to ban it."
Marcia Peterson Buckie crowed, in print, "I've got it on my Kindle!! The author would be pleased..."
And Debbie Piotrowski, one of the unhappy parents quoted in the original story, wrote to alert readers on both Patch Facebook pages, "There is a school board meeting Jan 10th & I'm hoping a lot of people show up to voice their displeasure over this & the fact protocol was completely ignored."
Comments under the original story on Canton Patch included:
's note that she "...was deeply concerned when my daughter, a student at Salem High [S]chool, told me that the book was being banned. I was not informed prior to the banning by the school. How can one parent (and superintendent) automatically assume that all parents would agree to this? I knew that there would be mature subjects discussed by looking at the published reading list that my daughter received in the summer, prior to starting school ..."
Wood went on to say students and parents had time to review the reading list before classes started and change classes if necessary, adding "Our juniors and seniors already encounter mature material in the music and movies that they encounter outside of school. At school, they have an outlet for questions and discussion. Furthermore, where is it written that one person makes a decision for the many in a public school?
Finally, it is important to remember that these children who take the AP classes are clearly intuitive and highly intelligent people. All this banning did was to make the book more attractive and it now will probably be read by more teens at the school. How ironic?"