| Dec 01, 2010
Shortly after the fall semester began this year, Wesley Scroggins, a parent of three in Republic, Missiouri, publicly criticized the local school district for carrying books that he described as soft pornography. "We've got to have educated kids, and we've got to be a moral people," Scroggins said then. "I've been concerned for some time what students in the schools are being taught."
Parents have long raised concerns about school and library books — children's and young adult books, and sometimes dictionaries — often for inappropriate content. The number of reported challenges in the past 30 years has hovered between about 400 or 500 each year, says Deborah Caldwell-Stone, an attorney with the American Library Association. Whereas challenges once were mostly launched by a lone parent, Caldwell-Stone says she has noticed "an uptick in organized efforts" to remove books from public and school libraries.
A number of challenges appear to draw from information provided on websites such as Parents Against Bad Books in Schools, or PABBIS.org, and Safelibraries.org, she says. And the latest wrinkle: A wave of complaints around the nation about inappropriate material in public schools has stirred emotional argument over just how much freedom should be extended to students in advanced courses. Read more in USA Today online.