I would like to respond to the letter written by Karen Zacharias entitled "We may as well be illiterate if books kept out of readers' hands." Her letter appeared to be written in response to her opinion about the recent controversy over a book at Echo schools.
I have not read the book that stirred debate between parents, students and the teacher who issued the book, so I cannot give my opinion on the book. However, one thing that Karen seems insensitive to is the fact that not all reading material is acceptable to all students or parents.
And criticism towards those who object to their children reading a book that they believe could be harmful to them, is not wise. After all, someday a child that Karen loves may be encouraged by a teacher to read something she believes in her heart would not be beneficial to that child.
I believe all school districts should send home information advising parents about controversial books or movies that a teacher plans on having them read or watch. If a parent does not want their child to read the book or view the movie then the teacher, without reservation, should have something in its place for the student to read or watch.
Part of the nationwide home school movement has stemmed from this very problem. Some insensitive teachers are pushing their personal literary choices upon students of all ages without any consideration to the belief system of the students and their parents. If a parent doesn't want their child to read a book because its content is inappropriate for their child, then the teacher should respect that parents' right to guide their own children, and do her best to work around it.
This really shouldn't be a problem because most books read at school are not offensive to most parents. However, in the case when this happens the teacher should be prepared to offer another comparable literary piece.
Finally, Karen's closing statement, "school boards that decide the only appropriate things for kids to read are the things that aren't offensive to anyone are doomed to reap a harvest of yet another illiterate and ignorant generation," is absurd, because illiteracy and ignorance aren't spawned from those who refuse to read anything and everything that's written.
Instead it comes from those who either cannot or will not learn to read and write. Thereby denying them the privilege of weighing the facts of the written word, that may or may not help them make the best choices for their lives.