District 41 to decide fate of 'Wallflower' in eighth-grade classrooms
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Glen Ellyn Elementary District 41 school board members will decide Monday night whether to reinstate a controversial book removed in April from eighth-grade classrooms.
The board voted 4-2 on April 29 to remove copies of "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" from eighth-grade literacy classroom shelves at Hadley Junior High School. Parents of a Hadley eighth-grader took issue with some passages of the book, particularly those involving sexually explicit content and language.
The board's decision to remove the book was made before the canvassing of April election results, so three new board members will have the opportunity to weigh in on the issue Monday.
Critics have argued the book isn't appropriate for eighth-grade students, while supporters have argued the board's vote to remove the book amounts to censorship.
The board will consider two separate motions: whether to return the book to Hadley eighth-grade classrooms as an independent reading option for students, and whether to approve updated procedures for informing parents about controversial classroom texts.
Earlier this month, the new board debated the contents of the administration's parental notification letter -- and whether it goes far enough in informing them that students may be getting access to sometimes mature content in classroom libraries.
Parents would have to sign the letter and return it to school before their child could check out books from the classroom library, and they could comment on the letter if there are texts they do not want their child reading.
Some board members said the letter needed to be more explicit to inform parents that students could have access to mature content. As a result, district officials made these additions to the letter that the board will consider tonight: "Because the middle school years are the time during which your child is 'coming of age,' the topic of interest for him or her may begin to shift. It is important to know that some of the books your child may choose to read may address a variety of issues, including, but not limited to sex, drugs, mental illness, and violence. Some may include strong language."
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