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Parents take son out of school over controversial book

READ MORE: Parents take son out of school over controversial book
WILMINGTON -- A book on a local ninth grade reading list has some parents so upset, they took their son out of school. The book, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, was an option for students to read in a freshman English class at Ashley High School. It was among the American library association's most challenged books of 2006. Now the book is being challenged here in New Hanover County. "this book is the most graphic book i've seen as a student book." As Chuck and Wendy Strafford read through The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky they couldn't believe it was being taught in their son's high school freshman English class. Chuck said, "There's millions and millions of good books out there, literature books, that are cleaner." The coming-of-age tale told from the perspective of a high school boy has sparked controversy nationwide. The book goes into detail about drugs, alcohol, gay sex, date rape and other topics the Straffords say would be better off in more advanced classes -- not for 15-year-old students like their son Elijah. "We're trying to keep him protected and sheltered in a healthy, clean environment and keeping him so he's innocent," Wendy said. Elijah's teacher, Christy McCoy, gave students the option of reading a different book, but the Strafford's say he was absent the day she made that announcement and was under the impression he had to read this book. New Hanover County Schools Spokesperson Valita Quattlebaum said, "The book will go through the school's media advisory committee and it will be reviewed there. Then the book will go on further to the district's media advisory committee to be reviewed at that time. And after that takes place a decision will be made whether or not the book will be allowed to remain on the school's shelves." The Straffords say they've had to sign permission slips so their kids could take sex-ed courses, and even watch certain movies. They say they would have liked to be notified in the same manner about this book. Wendy said, "We should, with literature, especially with that graphic of a nature, be told as parents, not let the kids have that choice since they are minors." The Straffords, along with another concerned parent, met with the principal and their son's English teacher and say they couldn't reach any sort of agreement. They took Elijah out of Ashley for the time being and say they hope this eventually blows over. They say they aren't trying to get the book banned; they simply would have liked to have gotten a heads up about its graphic nature.

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I'll say the same thing i said to Mr. whats his face we dont give a crap about what they do with their kid its their kid we understand that we're just defending our teacher and the book all right ok we just want them to apologize for lying about the book and etc. u people dont even know how the conference went any way now do u...well... do u...i thought so.

The world we live in...

Well, that is exactly what i am doing. Our kids are home schooled up to a certain point, then they go to private school. And I hate to be blunt about it, but they are better for it. If you were to spend any time around them, I think you would have to agree. The thing is, all of us contribute through our taxes to the operation of the county school system. Taxation comes with representation. I believe that gives every parent the right to have some input into how they school is run, as well as the materials that are promoted to our children. The officials and teachers are paid by you and I, they work for us. What we think does matter. And as far as being naive... that probably is not the right definition. I have "been there and done that" with regards to the "party lifestyle", and came out of it with one truth. It was a BIG RIPOFF. I am not expecting that my kids will be perfect. I am trying to help them make good decisions, based on truth. One of my daughters is heading off the college this year. Will she make mistakes? Sure. But she has had the benefit of seeing some other kids: a) Flunk out, b) stone out, c) get in legal trouble, d) get pregnant, etc. She has also watched other kids make good choices, and benefit from those choices. She has been witness to the benefits and consequences of their choices playing out in their lives. Thankfully, she has *watched*, and not had to *experience* some of the negative consequences (as I did). Wisdom: I don't have to get mauled by a lion to know that they are dangerous. How will they turn out from their "sheltered existence"? Well, before I assume that I am going to be "in a world of shock", we'll just let things play out over time and see whether I have made the right choice or not.

"The thing is, all of us

"The thing is, all of us contribute through our taxes to the operation of the county school system. Taxation comes with representation. I believe that gives every parent the right to have some input into how they school is run, as well as the materials that are promoted to our children. The officials and teachers are paid by you and I, they work for us. What we think does matter." That is one of the oldest and most over-used comments people like to say. You may be a couple pennies a year towards a teacher's salary. But remember, they are also paying that same amount so that means they also work for themselves. As far as having a say in what a teacher may teach, that goes through the school board. If you don't like something, you go to a school board meeting and express your concerns. But just because you may not like it doesn't mean the majority doesn't also...and I do not believe a school should cater to one student. If the majority are fine with a book, then so be it. The book should be allowed. And for anyone that has a huge problem with that, then there is always private school, or more importantly, home schooling. As far as this incident goes, this child was given a choice. He could have read a different book. I honestly wonder if these parents actually read the entire book because what I got from the article is that they only skimmed through it. And parents can try to "shelter" their children all they want, but what was in that book is a lot less than what they see and hear on an every day basis

Common Ground

I find it so sad that everyone has attacked the parents, attacked each other, attached the teacher or are attacking the students for voicing their opinions. This is just another example of our society and what it has become. Why shouldn’t a teacher be allowed to choice books she feels can contribute to the student’s education and growth? Why shouldn’t the parent’s be allowed to disagree with these choices and choose another path for their child? I am sure the teacher is a wonderful teacher as noted by many of her former and current students and the parents obviously are very involved with their son as someone had questioned. Perhaps we all need to be more vigilant with our children in theses times of unlimited information sources, we all obviously want whats best for the students right? Someone had made a comment about letting the children find their own way, at 15 I still feel teachers and parents must be involved and help with guidance. How can we prosecute a family or a teacher, are you all so perfect? There are two sides to every story and instead of listening to both sides and talking about it like the adults you all claim to be and claim the students are you are showing your immaturities by attacking each other. Just like so many other scenarios happening here in our town ….and around the world. There now you can all attack me, but just know I won't be back to read it.


we r just trying to get the parents to apologize to Ms.McCoy and if that means continuosly commenting on this website or whatever we will do it.

Wendy, this is for you

OK, I would like to start by saying I am the parent of 2 ninth graders at Ashley High. Both of my children have Mrs. McCoy as a teacher and both came home telling me they had a book they had to get. I being a "parent who takes an interest in what their kids are learning in school" bought the books on Amazon and read it the day it arrived as I always do when my children have a book to read so I can discuss it with them as they are reading it. I can tell you that neither of my children have a great love of reading much to my disappointment so when I started reading this I also started to drive them crazy because I kept saying "I can't wait until you read this". I knew that it was something that would capture the interest of both of them and possibly even convince them that there are good books out there worth reading. The main character is a nice kid, a good kid and is just observing his surroundings and reporting them. REAL LIFE surroundings. This book was published in 1992, I can tell you that the stories the two of them come home with daily of what is going on in the hallways and homes of kids make this book look like a Disney film. I am glad that Mrs. McCoy is teaching them that they can just sit and observe what is going on, quietly observe this crazy but REAL LIFE world, and not have to join in to be cool. I truly can't understand how you feel sheltering your son to such and extreme is helping him. To bad while you are busy "trying to keep him protected and sheltered in a healthy, clean environment and keeping him so he's innocent" he is busy learning all the wrong information from his messed up peers at school. My children know the truth by openly discussing what is going on around them with me. You could have read that book right along with him, told him your views and listened to how he felt. That is called teaching him right from wrong. But the most important thing I want to tell you is that if this book is banned from the school because of your own fears, I will personally fight till the day my children graduate to make sure that the decision is reversed! Giving out your email on a news blog to parent just screams lawsuit and hidden agenda. Get a grip, send your kid and let him be a kid.

I like this!

I am a senior at a high school and personally I think this is a really good book and I believe that teens should read it. I agree everything in this book teens are going to have to learn about sooner or later whether you like it or not. Whether it’s going to be at school or from their friends it’s going to happen. Keeping your son protected all the time isn’t going to help him at all; it’s just going to make things harder on him when he has to enter the real world and not having mommy and daddy right by his side. I agree with you on everything that you said and I think it’s a great idea to read the book and talk to your children about it. My teacher gets a little red in the face when she talked to us about it but she was pretty open about it and told us anything that we wanted to know, which is a good thing.


I like this comment

The parents obviously don't

The parents obviously don't know good literature.The Perks of Being a Wallflower is by far the best book I've ever read. Charlie's character is like no other. His point of view, and way of thinking is unbelievable. Charlie looks at life completely differently than most people do, which makes the book so interesting. I feel bad for the kid, honestly. The fact is the parents are ignorant and childish. Im guessing they didn't know this books has been awarded for its great literature. " The world fascinates me..."

This is great

The most wonderful thing about "banned books" is the press that it gives authors and their work. Perks of Being a Wallflower is getting tons of press from this situation, and that means more sales for the book! I love it! GO PERKS GO!!! It is one of my favorite books of all time. I feel bad for the son. It seems like his parents are whack jobs.

ha ha

ha ha i love this comment it made me laugh and the fact i agree with it.

Irony or Idiocy?

You know whats sad? Apon seeing that the students at the school love the book and think that it shouldnt be banned, you "Mature Adults" go and start insulting us about our grammar. As if it had ANYTHING to do with ANYTHING. Yes we may not have good grammar, but do any of you want to explain what that has to do with, you know, the subject at hand?

Excuse me?

for the comment by "Mis.MCcoy is a great teacher??" Let me tell you somthing this is not a personal matter between the student and her so if you hold a grudge between them or JEALOUSY then you dont need to be on this website making comments because this is about the book and the parents taking out of hand not theropy so you can express how you feel about another student and teacher.... and if you were mature about it then you would have put down your real name !! ha


*mocking* excuse me maybe u didnt hear the part that they r trying to get this really great book banned. and the fact that most of the EAHS students commenting here are just defending Ms.McCoy from those liars okay okay then. just to let u know if im making anyone mad or whatever with my comments I DONT GIVE CRAP!!!!! okay i dont care im just showing that i can show that i want those liars to apologize *mocking again* okay who ever the heck u r we wont care what u ppl say telling us its none of our business we will only get out of it if Ms.McCoy says stop or i'll give u a detention or we just feel like it allright.

Entertainment or Education

Dear Guest 123, I am not a dusty old lady that is out of touch with kids today. I am in my early thirties. I also have close relationships with my 15 and 17 year old nephews. They have both come to me with questions about drugs and sex. My problem is not with the content of the book, I just don't think it is good enough to be used in an English class. There is a time for easy reading - the beach, waiting for a doctors appointment, etc. This book reads like an "After School Special." I probably would have loved it when I was 15, but I would never have mistaken it for serious literature. I am sure that it must be more satisfying for a teacher to discuss a book that students actually liked reading; but is it the responsibility of the schools to entertain, or to educate? Classics are considered as such because they have outlasted trends and stood the test of time. One student's post actually said this book was like Salinger's "Catcher in the Rye!" I don't know which is more sad - that the student actually believes this, or that he/she wasn't TAUGHT the difference. With Respect.


wow i have left lots of comments...well any way HEY LADY DOESN'T LOOK LIKE THIS IS GOING TO PASS QUIETLY !!!!!!!! whatever its your fault for going to WWAY and tell nothing but a load of god awful lies!!!! Oh and if your looking at this comment you can get over it.

I don't really understand..

I don't really understand why this is such a big deal. I personally know the Strafford's and they are kind. This is really no one else's business, only McCoy and Elijah's parents really matter. A separate book assignment could've been arranged and this whole thing would not have been posted all over the news. This is ridiculous and out of hand. They made their decision as to what they believe is right, and that's that. Not everyone argrees with each other.

This is a big deal BECAUSE

This is a big deal BECAUSE they went to the media. There was an alternate assingment offered- from the beginning! This family wanted the media involved and they wanted the book banned. They called the media and pulled their child out of school. They made this choice, they trotted their kid out in front of the camera and they have tried to gain support. Nice people or not they have decided to make this a soapbox for themselves and this mess can be laid completely at their feet.

Parents, are you involved?

The real problem is the parents here. Like it or not, they will not be able to shelter their son. Kids who remain sheltered are the ones who end up pregnant, in jail, or on hard drugs. Were these parents involved at all before this book incident? Did they attend open house? Did they check the teacher's web page? Did they call the teacher? Parents these days want to blame the educational system or teachers for all the problems in schools. Newsflash: Let's make students responsible for themselves. High school is a place of growth and change and a time for maturity and life lessons. The student in this situation obviously read the book for a few weeks and didn't say anything (so we can assume he was ok with it). This book has nothing in it worse than what is heard on the bus, at lunch, or in the hallways of schools everywhere. Open your eyes. And has anyone ever heard of the separation of church and state?

this is a outrage christy

this is a outrage christy mccoy is the greatest english teacher ive ever had and for a disrespectful couple to come in and say something like that to her is not called for these parents are blind they must not know their poor little son is in high school and has a girl-friend hes probly going through the samething this book teaches about high school and how to deal with the real things in life too bad that these dumb parents are to "hill-billy" to see that!

This Makes Me Laugh.....

Hello. My name is Abi Crawford, I was one of Mis.McCoy's students my freshman year. I heard about the situation on the news, actually and I was very surprised. I rember reading this book and I even read it again my sophmore year for a book project. This book has deff no "gay sex, Pornagraphy, or drug use in it. It has everyday things that happen in the real world. And for the parents advice, if you think taking your son out of school and trying to bann the book.. Do you actually think that is going to help him?? I mean you sound ridiculous. Putting this situation on tv, and on the internet. GET A LIFE. I look at Miss. MCcoy as a mother, I go to her for help and good advice and I can tell her anything and she gives me wonderful advice. I look at her as a role model. She has truley been one of the best teachers at Ashley High School. I think the parents are crazy for making her go threw this and trying to embaress her. The question is do you really know your son? Do you know every word and move he makes? Do you really know..? Why dont the parents think about that? And just from me reading the comments on here and MYSPACE I am very upset about it and actually find the parents ridiculous. And if you are that concerned about your son and find high school to be cruel then you should have home schooled him before he came to "finding out the real world" aka... highschool.

Nice Grammar

I can assume that the teacher isn't teching the students grammar.

Ms. McCoy is a good teacher???

Talk about said that this ninth grade teacher was one of the best teachers you had at Ashley? She sure didn't teach grammer, did she? If so, you apparently skipped or slept through those classes. It is sad that you think that you are so worldly when you don't even know how to write. It is sad that a student would consider an English teacher great because she let you read trash rather than taught you how to express yourself in a coherant way through your writing. You are sad indeed, girl.

It is spelled grammar. Be

It is spelled grammar. Be careful: rocks break glass.


what the crap you must be crazy because Ms.McCoy is a great teacher and sometimes our computers wont put all the letters in making it look like we can't spell and we use grammar a whole lot better than you people use.


Looks like your computers also insert the wrong letters. You can preview the post before you submit it. Your spelling seems to be fine in your post, but I have to say, that's one heck of a run-on sentence. Next time, try using a capital letter at the beginning of your sentence and proper punctuation. Your writing just ruined your whole argument.

Hey Buddy

If u want to start something u can say it to my face cause I DON'T CARE!!!. Besides whoever the heck u r might have not really looked at them comment all they way through its not like they have a spell check software on here all right.

EAHS student

How can anyone say anything to your face on a comment board? I have noticed when students post they tend to write like they are phone texting or IM'ing. There is a time and place for everything. Would you turn in a school paper or fill out a job application with shortened abbreviated writing? When you are trying to make a point on a comment board in order to be taken seriously you should try and use your best writing skills. Your last post was confusing and I read it three times. One day you will have to function in the real world and your internet speech will not cut it. That is if you can get a job anywhere other than McDonald's.

Yeah, yeah

It's easy to look tough behind a keyboard. It's also easy to look uneducated and uninformed. You're probably too young to know what proofreading is... (spell check minus the computer). Another child with an excuse... spell check, give me a break! And for the record, if I knew who you were, it WOULD be said to your face. Hit the books kid, you'll save yourself some embarrassment in the future.

For example

i was jst trying to get my comment up and i didnt read the preview okay where it says "them" its suppose to b "the" all right