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Parents Split Over Book Removal

November 11, 2009, 5:52 PM by Shawn Neisteadt

Parents Split Over Book Removal
Now the debate over the Sioux Falls School District’s decision to remove “Stuck in the Middle” is heating up, and it's a topic that splits parents.

“Stuck in the Middle” is a collection of 17 comics that cover the difficult world of middle school.  Some question if it’s appropriate for students of any age, while others don't see what the fuss is all about. KELOLAND News gave the book to parents and let them thumb through it.

It's 200 pages intended for middle school students, but you won't find "Stuck in the Middle" on the shelves of Sioux Falls school libraries, and some parents say that's the right decision.

"Because of the words in there, and the language, I think they get enough exposure to that from other kids, older kids, kids that are around TV and I don't think they need it in a book," Cindy Pulscher said.

Pulscher supports the district's decision to keep the book out of the hands of students. But others, like Jennifer Giblin, say parents should be more involved in deciding if their children should read the book.

"I definitely don't think it should be in a school library. If it's in a library, let it be the public library and let the kids and parents decide if it's appropriate for their child to look at it," Giblin said.

But the idea of a school completely removing access to a book is troubling to others.

"I don't like the idea of just taking a book out because someone has an issue with it. Really, that's more the parents job. I feel that we can look at those with kinds; we can talk about what is in the book. It really shouldn't be the school job to teach the kids that, that's a parent issue I believe," Sara Green said.

Green likens this decision to the Harry Potter books, which were removed from some schools. No matter where parents stand on this most recent book debate, they all agree that parent-student communication is critical.

"I think it’s important for a parent and a child to be open with each other. But it also should be the parents decision to decide what's best for them," Giblin said.

"They're exposed to it whether it's in the book or not, so maybe it is a good thing to have there for a parent to have that frank discussion with their child to teach them what is and isn't appropriate about it," Green said.

The book does suggest that its readers be at least 12 years old. The copy we used was checked out from the Siouxland Libraries.

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