Monday, January 7, 2008

PTSA (Parent Teacher Student Association)

The PTSA (Parent Teacher Student Association) of Maui High School is looking for feedback on the following book titles available to students through the school library and/or taught by the English department. Several parents and guardians have contacted school administrators about the questionable content and educational merit of these and other books. We strongly encourage you to discuss the content of these books with your peers and those connected with the school to evaluate the reasons we should keep them in (or remove them from) the school library and the curriculum. Without your feedback, we will not be able to effectively evaluate the arguments for and against keeping these books in our school. The list below includes, but does not represent all, the titles being challenged by our community, whose tax money is used to buy the books. You should communicate with at least five people (not including me) in this debate until January 16th, at which time, you will send me your final decision regarding how appropriate you feel these books are for high school students. Thank you.

Marlys Anderson
PTSA Secretary

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain for use of racist language.

Beloved by Toni Morrison due to sexual content including bestiality and both offensive and racist language

Black Boy by Richard Wright for vulgar language among other word choices and violent descriptions.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou for violence and sex.

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote for sex, violence, and profanity

The Color Purple by Alice Walker for questionable lessons on morality, racism and sexuality.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini for extreme violence and objectionable sexual content.

Montana 1948 by Larry Watson for profanity and descriptions of nudity and sex crimes.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey due to glorifying pornography and criminal activity.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, for encouraging licentiousness, homosexuality, drug abuse and offensive language.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee for use of racial epithets.


sarah said...

so after commeting and talking to a few people, my opinion changed very quickly. At first I was not real sure about what I thought of this banning of certain books in our schools english deparment. However, after I talked to my peers like Sharpay, it made me realize how exposed people our age are to those types of things like drugs, sex, alcohal, etc. Especially in the books like Perks Of Being A Wallflower. In this book the main character is faced with many things, as there are a lot of students here going through similar situations. Even some adults, such as janiotors I spoke to feel that these books are good for our ciriculum.
Thanks so much and I hope you take my opinion to thought when making your final decision!!
-hannah montana

KP said...

Dear Ms. Anderson,
I don't think that these books should be banned. I have talked to several other students and we all agree. While there are some mature scenes and language, I don't feel we should be sheltered from things that actually happen in the real world. In the Kite Runner, they fled from the Taliban, something that actually happened. In Montana 1948, there was sexual abuse, something that actually happens. In the Perks of Being a Wallflower, there is drug abuse and problems with friends, and that happens also in the real world. We are becoming well rounded people by learning about things that are happening outside of our lives, even though these books may be fiction.
Sharpay Evans

Jason said...

Dear PTSA,

I have been looking into the current dilemma and have came to a conclusion. I think that it is educational suicide when you take books away from schools because of their content. This is high school, not middle school. Students are fully aware of what goes on in these books. Taking away books because of their content is depriving students of knowledge. Books such as The perks of being a wallflower offer a wide set view of the world that ost students have not seen. I have read the book and i loved it. It showed me and may show others the problems that some students may go through. It also showed me that some things in life are just more important than other things. I talked to many other students at Maui High school, and most of them agree with me. Don't let the worries of a few people ruin a educational experience for the rest of us.

Iakona M.

Jason said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Megan said...

Dear PTSA,
After reading the list of books, hearing other people's opinions, and taking time to reflect on the reasons themselves, I concluded that these books should not be banned. I think students need to be exposed to all things that are going to come up in there life. We prepare them for college and even sex in health class. Why not let them see examples of these prejiduces, violence, and drug use. I think ultamitely it's going to depend on the student or person reading them because all people are different and are going to take different things from these books but i think it's good to show them the consequences. Back in my day, we read classics like moby dick and shakespeare and books like those also have the killing and sexual activity. If students are going to be surrounded by this in life after school, why not prepare them and show them what not to do.
-Custodian Albert Roy Samuels

Rachel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rachel said...

Dear Ms. Anderson and the PTSA,

In my opinion, the novels on your banned book list should not be restricted. At first, I thought that these books should be restricted to a certain age or grade level, but after hearing other people's opinions, I changed my own. All students should be reading books that concern real world problems and issues because soon, we will all be in the real world. Having a certain knowledge about the potential hazards in society will be beneficial to us. Learning about these problems at a young age will also hopefully prevent these issues from coming apparent in our own lives. For example, reading about a teen's struggles with drug abuse in The Perks of Being A Wallflower gives us insight into the harmful effects of using drugs, leading us to not use them. Plus, these books are entertaining to read. So...please don't ban these books! Thanks.

- Casey Connor

Ellie said...

Dear PTSA,
After discussing the issue with several other students and teachers, I have come to the conclusion that the books should be kept at school and read by the students. Most of the books discuss issues in which teenagers experience all the time. Some books do have violence but I believe the older students especially are mature enough to handle the books. Students have a right to learn about the subjects in these books, a lot of the main characters in the books themselves are just typical teenagers. In conclusion the books should not be banned. Thank you
-Brooke Davis

Rachel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
knelson said...

After talking to various different students about their opinions regarding the banning of the books and reflecting on their comments, I decided that I will keep the opinion that I have had. I think that the schools should not ban the listed books just because they contain questionable content. In most of the books, the topics that are in question usually have to do with sexual or violent realities. For example, The Kite Runner contains many extremely violent scenes that reflect the current conditions in Afghanistan almost exactly. I feel that it is depriving the students by not allowing them to read such content. Many of the other students I have talked to reported that they loved reading the books and would be angry if they were banned. Most of them also feel that being exposed to the sexual activity and drug use will not encourage us to do these things, but educate us. We are in high school and we are mature enough to recognize these issues and not become affected or try to replicate any of them in our lives. In fact, many of us have gone through some of these problems in the past and know that it happens and we should not be sheltered from the reality. I think that by being exposed to such topics as prejudice, sexual relations, and violence, we are being prepared for the real world and college next year. Without these books, we would be sheltered and not informed on these issues that are present in the world today.
-Theresa Joplin

Captain Jack said...

Hello Mr. Anderson, Where do you come off thinking you have the authority to ban anything from anybody. Your reasoning is not through logic but through personal paranoia. You don't have to read the books if you don't want to, it is your choice, just as it is any one else's choice to read what they wish. It is your job to educate your kids about the content. You know, I thought that you were attractive and maybe would have asked you to dinner, but you put me off. Your what we call a regular school board clown. Your personal grab for attention has no place in the schools. Don't ban these books or I will remind people of that little science room incident. Think about it.
-Jack Straw

Natalie said...

Dear PTSA,
I read the lengthy list of books that are banned from certain schools. I have actually read some of these books myself, and found nothing to be wrong with them. I do realize that there are several scenes that may be considered inappropriate in these books. Although, I believe that most high school kids are mature enough to handle the content that is presented in these books. By banning these books, you would be banning the kids' right to a good education. Most kids would have already learned about sexual education in tenth grade, so reading these books are really no different from the things you learn in health class.
Thank you very much for taking the time to read about my opinion!

Hailey Conrad

claire said...

Dear Mrs. Anderson,
From talking to some other teachers and students from the school, I have decided that I still want these books to be read in our high school. I think it is important for these teens to hear stories about situations that they could possibly be exposed to. I believe that they are old enough to handle these tough topics.
Doris Mcdermitt

sam said...

Dear Ms. Anderson and the PTSA,
After discussing the issue with a few of my friends and classmates, I feel that these books shouldn't be banned from our school. Even though these books deal with some hard topics, that are happening around the world and even in our very own school. These are good things to discuss in safe environment like school, so that students don't get the wrong idea about what these books are trying to get across. These books are educational, but something that students want to read and understand better.
Chloe Parker

Hibbs said...

Dear Ms. Anderson,

Even though i didn't need the support of my peers to tell you that your wrong, i ended up talking to my classmates and reassuring how bad of an idea it is to ban such books from our school. If you had an education yourself you would know that it is of utter importance to put the reality of the real world in your teaching to the students to help them realize and prepare for being on their own. To have the intellectual confidence of what is going on in the world to succeed to their full ability. Do you want to be the one to take that right from them? What kind of human being are you to think you have the authority to take published works from your students. These books help these kids find education in other ways than those damn worksheets. I hope you realize that if these kids were withheld from these books, they would lose a key angle of education every kid should experience, because of you!
-?uest Love

Shelly4thHour said...

Marlys Anderson-
After talking to my peers about this book banning I have come to a decision. I thought that the books should stay on the shelves and to my surprise many people agreed with me. All the reasons that were discussed I thought were all good reasons to keep the books in the school and not that they weren't a waste of tax payers money. The reasons I believed the books need to stay in the schools is because the books all may contain content that is disturbing but they are all things that modern day teens go through or have heard about. I think the books all are a helpful tools to help teens. I do agree that some of the books should not be read by younger children who do not have the right maturity level. The solution to the problem is have these books read by tenth graders and above and have mature conversations about the serious content.
Thank you so much for your time and hope you come to the same conclusion.
-Anaya Carlson

Anonymous said...

Dear Ms. Anderson,

The books should not be banned. I have read The Perks of Being A Wallflower and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. They have broadened my thoughts to consider ideas of people with different problems. I myself struggle with many of the things that Charlie dealt with in Perks. After reading that book it changed my life. I realized that I'm not the only one who lives a crappy life. One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest taught me about different mental illnesses. It was a very intelligent book and made me think about different ideas that I wouldn't normally consider. It allows the reader to come up with their own opinions about what Ken Kesey was trying to say. I think that McMurphy was a Jesus figure. Not everyone would realize that by reading through the book. You have to analyze different parts of the text to get the deeper meaning.

The books are educational and can broaden other students thoughts too. By reading these different books, they can find comfort or understanding from reading about the characters. It's a way of relating to someone that some people don't get out of going to school. They're just books!

Evie Carlson

Breezy said...

Ms. Anderson,

After much consideration, It occurs to me that students of the right age should be allowed to read these books when the time is right. High school students that are allowed to read these books should be matured by the time, teachers bring out these books. When I talk to other people about these books, they seem to all think about the same thing. Even though some books may be banned in some schools, others should be allowed to have a more open mind about more things in the outside world. Teens should be allowed to read what they need to read and then again it should be up to them to decide on what stays and what goes. If anything goes terribly wrong with students reading these books, then there should be reasons to ban these specific books. All-in-all, the books teach kids and adults alike what goes on in some situations and it should be up to you to let students know that these things can happen.

Mackin said...

Dear Ms. Anderson,
I don’t think you understand how much power you have. Students at this school have no say on what books are banned, and that’s wrong. We are the ones using the materials, and a lot of students don’t get to the library outside of school. For the majority of the student body, they get all of their exposure to sensitive issues within school. Pretending they don’t exist by banning books that include them is NOT preparing them for the real world. They willl be shocked when they realize it is a seemingly completely different world off campus.
That’s where you come in. Our students can’t vote on this issue, so all the power lays in your hands, on behalf of us. We live daily in a crazy, violent, sexual world. I can guarantee you that you don’t know half of what our student body hs been through, what their home life is like, etc. Providing this psuedo-protection isn’t going to positively affect anyone. The books that are read (for instance, the Kite Runner, and Perks of Being a Wallflower) may exhibit sexual situations or violence, but it’s not porn by any means. Teenagers expiriment sexually- reading about it won’t make it any more prevalent. Kids need to read about other such offensive issues to know what happened in the past, to open topics for conversation.

Please see where I’m coming from. I really appreciate what you do. Come see me in the turtle shop sometime.

love, Ben

Moe said...


I have been reading to other peoples thought on the book banning. I think it has been very interesting to hear what others had to say about it. My opinion on the book banning is that it is wrong that schools are banning certain books. It is totally unfair that some books cant be read in school. I looked up an author's opinion on it and i agreed with it " believe that censorship grows out of fear, and because fear is contagious, some parents are easily swayed. Book banning satisfies their need to feel in control of their children's lives" Judy Blume
People should have a choice of what they want to read. I hope you take me opinion into consideration. Thanks for listening.
Rosie Larson

caitlin said...

Dear Ms. Anderson and the PTSA-
I do not believe that any of these books should be banned. By taking these books out of the school curriculum and library, students are not able to learn and understand these things better. In this sheltered town of Maui, with little racism I think it is very important for us to learn about what it is like through literature. I have not talked to anyone that agrees with the PTSA and their attempts to ban these books. I have read a lot of these books and I learned a lot from them. I think that banning books because they are sexual or have sexual crimes is stupid! Kids in this day and age will be educated or learn about sex and sexual crimes even if the school doesn’t promote it. Teaching it in an educational manner will give students a different view and perspective. Also, teenagers will experience or know people who experience almost every problem in The Perks of Being a Wallflower. That book is not bad, it teaches a good lesson that everyone should read. Please keep the books.

J. Sanders

lawrence said...

Dear PTSA-
After speaking to all these people on the book banning issue i still retain my stance that these books should still be prohibited in our school. Although there are many experiences that could made by reading books, they share with students things that are socially unexceptable. Kids do not need to learn about these types of things in an educational institution. Its okay to me if they read them at home but my taxes shouldn't be going to kids learning about racism, sex, drugs, and things of that nature. If they could be presented in a particular classroom that is not manditory, it would be okay by my standards. Kids shouldn't have to learn about that kind of stuff to graduate. Basically kids can read these books just not at school.
Yancey R. Jones
Crotchity Assistant Janitor

MLarson said...

Dear PTSA-
After hearing back from many people and their opinions I have decided that we should keep the books. I understand that the topics expressed in these books are not things you want highschoolers to be reading, but it is the truth. There are problems with sex, drug and alcohol abuse. It is important for students to be aware of these problems and know how to deal with them. If these are things that are never brought up in school how else should they know how to react. It is better that students learn about these things in a school environment because it is where they will hear the truth. Not only do these books teach life lessons they show a good example of literature. The books are a positive effect on the students and should stay apart of the curriculum. Thank you for your time and I hope you take my opinion into consideration.
-Isabel Cortez

Bailey said...

ok so i totally think that the ptsa thinks they own our school all of a sudden, umm no! And i totally think that they should stop trying to shelter us from these books, i mean come on, it's not like none of us have ever heard of sex or a swear word before! i like totally love to swear, it makes me look classy and soo sophisticated! Anyways, we are mature teenagers and we should be able to read whatever we want, i mean this is coming from me, Summer Roberts, I mean helloo, the only thing i like to read is Cosmo. So this must mean you have to keep these books in our school. Stop trying to think your the administrators and just leave our learning alone! well i hope you took what i had to say to heart!
Yours truly,
Summer Roberts

Dezzi said...

I do not believe that any of these books should be banned. Kids our age are exposed to these topic matters every day through the radio, music, and the media, so it's not like anything that we read in these books is going to horrify or affect us in any manner.


Jake said...

After talking to my peers about this new issue that has befallen us I feel strongly that getting rid of these educational books would be wrong. Books are what make people learn and what can we learn if not from books. It's easier to teach a touchy subject amongst teenagers with a book rather than communication. I haven't talked to anyone that has supported this change besides the PTSA. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is one of the best books i have ever read because i could relate to the situations so well. I couldn't put it down once i started reading it. So please don't ban these books. Afterall they are just books...

Jake kawakiki

megan said...


Hey! so yeah I totally don't think that we should ban the books!! After talking to a few people i realized that a lot of people feel the same way I do. I mean I like totally understand that some of the stuff in the books are kinda sketchy but I think that we still need to learn and know about this stuff! i mean like HELLLOO?? Life is really like that. It showsina good way how it really is in high school. But yeah I totally think that we should keep them but only for juniors and seniors cuz I think its the best way to compromise the situation. thanks ms Anderson! hit me up girl with what you think! much love!
Barbie! :)

Shadowfane said...




Project Success said...

Good Afternoon Ms. Anderson,
Being a teacher myself, i believe that these books are very important to how i teach my students. These books are important because they are real and they talk about real life things that happen. So they may be graphic or use inappropriate material, but they grab the students attention and make them want to read. I know this because my students have very well prepared questions at the start of every class for the books that we are reading, which happen to be on this list for being banned. Please don't ban these books, as I will appreciate it greatly towards my teaching curriculum.

Miss Druwell

kyle said...

Dear Marlys Anderson,
I have heard about your concerns regarding the banning of numerous books at Maui High School. After long discussions with some of my students and fellow faculty, it has been pretty evident that the majority of the people at this school have no problem with reading these books. To be honest, I did not hear any argument to ban the books at all. We feel that these books teach many important and useful life lessons. It may be violent, tastless, and or too sexual, but these are high school students and as teachers we feel these students are old enough to be subjected to this and might be able to help them with some of the issues they inevitably face.
Thank you for hearing what I have to say.

Mr. Adam Tucker

Shannon said...

i am commenting on what i think the school board should do about the book ban. I think that the books should stay. These books are educational. They teach people true values outside of what they normally know. If people didnt read those kinda of books no one would learn anything different. It helps teach the high school students things that happen in the workd and things that other people are going to. They need to keep these books if they want people to learn more.
-gabbie alexander