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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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"sham on you"? ha thats what

"sham on you"? ha thats what i have to say.Just because we know how to talk doesnt mean were the english teacher...Way to make enimies!!!!!

"Who are you trying to fool

"Who are you trying to fool here? The media offers us this way for us to speak our minds about this important topic" You're right, media IS a way to speak our minds about important issues, and guess what? Books still count as media. If teen pregnancy, abortion, and drug use are not important topics, WHAT are? You know what another important issue here is? Censorship. And guess what? You are censoring this book by trying to get it removed from the school. Schools are a place for free and open exchange of thoughts, and you are attempting to take that away. Destroying the VERY rights that make us American. "and you, pretending to be a 15 year old student, are just fooling yourself. It is too obvious that teenagers do not express themselves in that manner much less write like that, unless they are already English teachers...... " Are you assuming that 15 year olds both do not have thoughts and do not express ourselves? It is much easier to think that it is a single person putting an entire days worth of effort to spite you, but I promise you these comments were made by us, the students, and we refuse to be censored or quiet by issues that really matter to us. By assuming we cannot do this, you are claiming the education system has failed us. And that we are mindless drones with no thoughts of our own. Well a 15 year old wrote this, and I do not like the idea of you censoring us. -Josh

Reply to Shame on You

My wife is an English teacher at Ashley. She teaches 10th graders mostly. I am well-informed on this ridiculous debate and also privy to some of the writings of some of her 15-year-old students. She has read some of their papers to me and there are some that are brilliant. I have been writing for thirty years myself, and I don't toss that word around easily. If you truly believe that 15-year-olds "don't write like that, unless they are already English teachers...", then I suggest that you don't know any, and you certainly have not read any. You may, indeed, be a Concerned Parent, but it is obviously not of a teenager. Also, to everyone out there who is summarily panning this book I have to ask: Have you, yourself, actually read it? Or are you being swayed by what this article and these posts have told you it is allegedly about?

Some of you clearly failed

Some of you clearly failed to realize this isn't a book that was required. Did you even read the story?? It was an OPTION and they didn't exercise that option. The parents bought the book and let their child read it for over a week before they objected. The child communicated to his classmates he liked the book (despite what he says in the clip) and THEN the parents do not just exercise their option to have an alternate book- they insist that NO ONE can read the book in the entire county. They say they couldn't reach an "agreement" with the principal and the teacher, yet they were offered options, but refused. So what was the understanding they wanted? In the clip they say they don't want the book banned right after it is explained they are going through the process with the school to have it banned. Can we get a straight story here WWAY? The one presented here is not clear nor accurate. This book does not have the things accused of in it, yet WWAY states whatever these parents claim as fact. It is untrue and dangerous to state such things. This is a clear case of irresponsible journalism. Shame on this reporter and shame on these parents!

Take God out of school and

Take God out of school and this is what you get. The world needs to get a grip and stand up for what is moral and right. This is not about what kids are exposed to or what they already know about. It's about protecting them until they are old enough to make that choice for themselves. A 15 year old is not old enough to buy a pornographic magazine or to buy beer. Why should this book be any different. It should be up to the parent on when and how their children learn about sex,drugs and immoral behavior.

Give me a break! Have you

Give me a break! Have you heard of the separation of church and state? The book IS NOT pornography and parents who actually think that their children are "sheltered" need to wake up and let them learn of the world. Of course parents want the best for their chidren; however, I wonder if these parents have ever visited or volunteered for Ashley. Have they ever contacted the teacher (in regards to this issue or others)? People are so quick to blame the teachers--where are the parents?

it was

it was

This is so gross. I would

This is so gross. I would not want my adult children reading this mess, let alone my children in school.


read the book and stimulate ur mind and i learned that word stimulate from miss Mccoy


I am a student of Mrs.McCoy, and i happen to think she's a wonderful teacher. So what if that book talks about "mature content"? Have you ever spent a day in high school yourselves? & The Perks Of Being A Wallflower does not have any so-called "gay porn" in it. I should know. I'm reading the book right now. I happen to know Elijah and he hasn't complained about that book in the 2 weeks we've been reading it. It really doesn't make sense. And I know these people are trying to shelter their "little darlings", but get real. We're going to college in 3 freaking years. Stop trying to shelter your kid. Have you ever thought that books aren't probably influences to what we do today? I bet your son isn't reading dirty books as compared to porn. think about that!

Perks of Being a Wallflower

What would be considered a "clean" book? If the school system would allow the Holy Bible to be read in English class would these parents approve of it? News Flash! The Bible has its share of "unclean" stories in it. Like the one in 2 Samual 13 starting at verse 20. This tells the story of incest and murder. Don't believe it? Read it for yourself. Maybe these parents would prefer their son read about this in English class instead.


Ok so im a freshman at ashley high. Elijah was in my third period class and Ms. McCoy is my fourth period English teacher and probably one of the coolest teachers i have ever had. Also this book is amazing and i would rather read this than something those parents would have chosen. F.Y.I. to those parents, their son has probably seen and heard more things than their "good Christan" parents would allow for their perfect son. I think their full of it anyways and i feel really bad for that kid.


I'm 14 years old, a freshman at Ashley High School and also in Ms. McCoy's English class. To tell you the truth, I HATE reading, I can never seem to find a good book that I can relate to. Until we started reading The Perks Of Being a Wallflower. I am absolutely SHOCKED by the actions of these parents. Ms. McCoy told us REPEATEDLY that if our parents weren't sure they wanted us reading this book that there is in alternate book we could read. This book is not some pornographic story about a kid named Charlie in high school, it's a book about a kid named Charlie facing the SAME things we are faced with as teenagers. This book is something to relate to. If these parents think they are "sheltering" their child by taking him out of Ashley High School and trying to ban this book in libraries...they are honestly hopeless as parents. Walking through the hallways you see this kind of stuff and WORSE, drug deals, smoking, drinking, and more. Hiding him from the real world is only going to hurt him. And trying to ban this book from other teenagers to read is wrong, I personally enjoy this book, I can barely put it down once I start reading. I believe they acted irresponsibly as parents. There is the mention of sex, rape, and the word penis in the book, big deal, those are the kind of words kids throw around everyday. Get used to the fact that we aren't 10 years old, we know what sex is, we know what drugs are, and we know what homosexuality is. We don't want to read books we can't relate to, so banning this book would be a ridiculous move.

wow u took him out of school

i think this is so stupid if u want to take him out of school for reading a book about the real world by all means you need leave north carolina period and maybe the united states


Whether the parents signed the permission slip or not isnt the issue. I wonder IF the permission slip stated what the contents of the book were. I am a parent. My son is now 19. I have had numerous compliments on how well I raised him and consider it the highest compliment I could ever get. IF I were in this situation I would have probably done the same thing IF all the facts are being told. It seem in todays society when someone tries to do the RIGHT thing they get ridiculed by the media as well as some of the Left Wingers out there. Right is what you consider is right when it comes to your child. As long as I am looking out for the well being of my child then for me it is Right. This family is doing what they consider to be the right thing and I personally agree with them. I dont know that I would remove him from school but I would demand that he not be made to read that book and if that were not good enough then I would continue to move up the chain of command until someone could give me a reason as to how this JUNK could benefit my child in any way and as to what eduactional benefit it had. Again IF we are getting all the facts here. There are 3 side to every story. Your side...My side...and the Truth. If they took this book and made it into a song would this 15 year old kid be able to purchase it? Hmmmmm....I would bet not. Our music has a rating sysytem...Maybe our books need one too. Where is Gore when we need her.

You missed the point in

You missed the point in "IF...IF...IF..." He didn't have to read the book. It could have been settled right there. There didn't have to be a "demand" made at all. They didn't take the option and are now pointing fingers and making a big deal out of something that never had to be an issue. And by the way, this teacher isn't a "Left Winger" as you are so quick to paint her. Quite the opposite. You rightly pointed out that you are not aware of all sides of this story at all.

Did you even read the

Did you even read the article?? The parent stated that the permission slip is her issue!! The end of the article states that the parents don't want the book banned, they just want to be informed the same way that they would if their child was taking a sex ed class. THEY WERE GIVEN THE PERMISSION SLIP!

On a quick note

The parent claims that they do not want the book banned, however, they are currently waging a full challenge of the book in New Hanover County. For those of you who are not ALA dorks, this means that they want the book removed from libraries, classrooms, and all public schools. That IS banning it. Right now it is being review by a board and a decision will be made at each level of the county. So for all of you who are calling for a right to parent your own child, they are infringing on that right by saying that, even though they no longer have a child in New Hanover County Schools, they do not want your child to have access to this book, which is great by the way, either. I am so glad that we are suddenly in back to the days of book burning! As my son, an Ashley student who saw this on the news said, "isn't that what the Nazi party did?"

your son is correct

Your son is correct n stating that the Nazi party did the same thing in the late 1930's. He would also be correct in stating that the christian religion had done the same thing back in the 1400' through the late 1600's. It seems that the more people try to progess there will always be those that try to hold society back due to either lack of education, religion, or an pathetic grasp of how society is compared to how it use to be.

"The Perks of Being a

"The Perks of Being a Wallflower" is a great book. im currently in the class where we are reading this book. Its all about real life and what actually goes on in highschool.As much as some of you dont want to face the facts sex and drugs are all over the place at our ages.I actually will read this book it keeps my intrest because its real unlike the other fluffed up highschool stories. my english teacher who assigned us this book told us EVERY DAY! that if our parents didnt want us reading this then she had an alternate so in my opinion i think this went way out of hand by pulling a kid out of school because of content in a book! i think everybody should actually read this book before you go calling it gabage and judging it! ...a current student thats loving her book :)

Have you read the book?

Just a few words I need to get off my "left wing nutjob" chest: My question is, have any of you read the book? I believe it is unfair to call something "garbage" and claim that it is explict in descriptions of gay sex and rape if you have not read the book. I have read it and I enjoyed it very much. I have nothing but positive things to say about this novel. I think it is a disservice to the child to remove this student from school simply because a parent was shocked at the content. I would be interested to know how this young man is being educated in the mean time. Is he being home schooled or did he enroll in a private institution? Furthermore, do these parents screen everything their child does? Are they constantly watching him as he surfs the Internet, watches television, and talks with his friends? Although I am sure they are caring parents, I find it impossible to believe that "sheltering" him is realistic or helpful. I agree with the earlier comment that the best thing to do would have been to read it and discuss the book with your child. I also feel that more people should stick up for the teacher. She gave out a permission form and posted it on her webpage, how much more could/should she have done? So what if the kid was absent on the day it was given out? I seriously doubt he was given different information on the day he did return. I would like to know when the parents became angry? Did they mindlessly sign a permission form without being fully aware of what they were agreeing to? If so, I don't think the book is the real problem here.

Of course you feel that way!

You admit that you're a "left-wing nutjob," so of course you're going to absolutely LOVE any book that beats the drum for the acceptance of homosexuality and drug abuse. Thanks for supporting and agreeing with my earlier post!


I am going to take it you are a racist idiotic closeminded fool. Do you realize that more teens kill themselves because they are gay and would rather be dead then to be chastised by people like you? What is wrong with a book that shows a teen accepting that his friend is gay?? Maybe reading this book will save a life of someone in his shoes. Why don't you go bury your head back into your right-wing church!

To CommonSense

Since you rail against the "left-wing nut jobs," I assume then that you must be a right-wing conservative, yes? Typically, the basis of the conservative viewpoint is fervent belief in God Almighty and "Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven." More power to you. Funny thing is, though, in the very Christian Church in which I was raised, the central theme of Christianity was always taught to us as being one of Acceptance and Love for your fellow human despite their faults or differences. To me this always seems to be where the staunch, dyed-in-the-wool Conservative Christians lose sight of their own faith. Just as you seem to be doing. Personally, I am devoutly heterosexual and think that male-female relationships are as nature intended. However, that doesn't mean that it is my God-given right or responsibility to stamp out homosexuality in all of its forms. I prefer to live and let live. The sex lives of others, or their marital status for that matter, in no way effects my own and is, therefore, none of my business. I know that you are probably going to label me another left-wing nut job, but let me ask you this while you toss the labels around. What is so terrible with a balance of liberal and conservative thought? Do you know what you get when you banish all liberal ideas? You get Communist China...Nazi Germany...and 400 years of slavery because no one stops for a minute to think, "Hmmm...maybe the notion of one human being owning another is not such a good idea." You also get a world without the United States of America, which was founded by a radical group of...wait for it...LIBERAL THINKERS. You know, the same guys that brazenly thought separation of church and state was a good idea and that the press and basic speech should be free and open. Just some food for thought, which is always liberating.

Nice try, but.....

Your entire argument fails. Nowhere have I made a single reference to religion, and I'm not even a Christian. Better luck next time!

For common...

It's called sarcasm, Common. I was referring to myself as a nutjob because you oh-so-affectionately coined the term in your earlier comment. Also, I don't believe that public schools are trying to push liberal views. What, may I ask, is wrong with encouraging a child to have an open mind? Since when did exposure to those who are different equal acceptance or crazy? No one is saying the kid has to emulate the character in the book because he read it. Relax. Oddly enough, it sounds like you are favoring censorship yet you talk about liberals destroying America. Isn't freedom what this country is all about? Hmm... Also, have you read the book? It beats no drum for acceptance, I assure you. It does, however, show that even though someone is different and sometimes troubled, they can still be a good and caring person. What's wrong with that lesson? We can all have our opinions. Don't be angry if they are not all the same.

Trust the voice of experience

Never try to write sarcasm. Sarcasm depends upon voice inflection, facial expression, or eye movement. Sarcasm is a visual/audible medium. It doesn't work well in written word. I occasionally forget that and fail to make my point, too. Here is my point: There is no reason why anyone has to accept or respect anyone else if they find that other person's conduct reprehensible. For example, I don't give a hoot about what a person does for their sexual gratification. You shouldn't need a book to tell you that a person's worth is not dictated by whom they sleep with. I do, however, take great issue with raising their sexual perversion to a blessed lifestyle, and demanding that society accept it as perfectly normal. Their conduct may not offend me, but it DOES offend millions of people, and NO ONE has a right to demand that they accept the validity of that lifestyle. It is, after all, abnormal in the truest sense of the word. For exmple, every major religion teaches that it is wrong - followers of those religions have a right to believe that it is wrong, and if they choose to avoid homosexuals, that is also their right. Going beyond the issue of homosexuality, I have to disagree that substance abusers or "date rapers" can be "good and caring (people)." Anyone so selfish as to force their sexual advances on a reluctant participant, or so stupid as to waste their life on alcohol or drugs deserves no consideration whatsoever. They should be dismissed and avoided at all costs, and that's a lesson we should be imparting on students. We should be emphasizing a message that society once preached, that criminals, drunks, and drug addicts are worthless vermin. This country was a lot better off when we followed that line of thought.


Look the only "left-wing nutjob" i see is you right now for think that my teacher is a Liberal well i've got news for ya...SHE ISNT!!!!

Hey common.......

I was just wondering if you read the book?

Give me a free copy and I may

(I state "may," because I cannot envision picking up any book that deals with drug abuse, date rape, and homosexuality. I find none of the topics in the least interesting. I'm more of a non-fiction reader, currently enjoying Alan Greenspan's "The Age of Turbulence.") My reading "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" isn't all that essential, however, as I'm not taking sides on this particular issue. There's too much to this story that makes you ask, "Huh?" I'm simply stating that people shouldn't be surprised to find a political agenda in the assignments their children receive in public school. Espousing liberal causes has been a goal of public education for forty years. Why else would students be rounding up blankets to give to the homeless, as we recently read? Still, in the case at hand, one must ask why a book for ninth graders would even have to mention homosexuality, or sexuality of any nature. Granted, a book can't steer a teen to a life that is opposite of his natural inclination....but it can certainly be used to foster an acceptance that what is essentially nothing more than a simple sexual perversion is somehow a legitimate "lifestyle." If you've read it, answer me this - is the drug abuse and gay sex essential to a main plot that exists outside these areas? Or is it, in fact, relying upon controversial issues to compensate for the lack of a viable main plot and to simply steer the reader into exploring and accepting these areas?