Speak Speak discussion

Removed from public schools?

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message 1: by Twidlebug (last edited Oct 08, 2010 04:29PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Twidlebug I just read in EW magazine that an assoicate professor at Missouri state wants to ban this book from public school curriculum along with Sarah Ockler's Twenty Boy Summer and Kurt vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five. Shouldn't it be up the parent's to decided what there kids can and cannot read?

Jenn Soehnlin I've heard of community members wanting certain books removed, though I agree, I think it should be up to the parent, and only for their child, not the entire school/county.

I can totally understand a parent not wanting their child to be exposed to something they feel is inappropriate, but I think the parents should be fully informed (AKA read the book themselves to see what the fuss is about and if it really goes against their beliefs) and not deprive other kids of experiencing these books. Just my opinion as a school teacher who has dealt with this before when teaching The Giver by Lois Lowry. In all cases where the parent didn't want their kid reading the book the parents hadn't even read it, only heard things about it. Man, I love that book! Speak is great too! :)

Sophia Jenn wrote: "I've heard of community members wanting certain books removed, though I agree, I think it should be up to the parent, and only for their child, not the entire school/county.

I can totally unders..."

As with Giver, the same thing happened to me in 4th grade and nobody in the class was able to read it because of one student...

Rebecca Why would they even want this book removed from public schools? I think it has a good message behind it.
And, as above, parents should decide what books are innappropriate for their children, not school boards. Parents know their children.

Sophia Rebecca wrote: "Why would they even want this book removed from public schools? I think it has a good message behind it.
And, as above, parents should decide what books are innappropriate for their children, not ..."

But if they do, then hopefully they actually read the book, and not just look at reviews to make their mind for them...which, believe me, it happens

Lisarenee As a parent of a teen I say it's a topic that needs discussing and it was handled very well in this book.

Alyssa i think its stupid to even think about baning books because they cant do it any way its agaisnt the amendments but i think its stupid to be cause we need to see all difffenrent types of stuff other wise where would we be probaly inthe situations that happen in most of the books the want to ban and then what good would this world come too??

Alyssa but also i really thought speak was a good book because its what most of us would do we would be to scared to tell anybody what happened and afraid they wouldnt believe us

Andrea I am a high school English teacher and we recently went through the process of a parent wanting a book banned from our curriculum. However, in the end, our school board was on our side which I am very thankful for.

I am also a parent and agree that these topics need to be discussed. I can't imagine ever having the gall to try to dictate what other people's children can read or learn.

Emily no...i think that the teenagers should be able to read what they want!

Mary Beth This book should definitely not be removed from schools. I read it in high school and found it to have a very profound and important message. The fact is that lots of teens have gone through the terrible experience Melinda endured, and many of those teens find reading this book inspiring and encouraging. To take away this book would be to remove a source of hope and empowerment.

Parents should definitely monitor what their kids are reading, but I don't think it should be banned from public school libraries. In regards to what kids are reading, censorship should be the parents' responsibility, not the public schools'.

Carrie Zagzebski I read this and I agree, I think it's something that should be discussed openly between parents and teens. And that said, I didn't think the book was that bad. I have read things in the YA section that were way worse. I didn't see anything worth pulling it off the shelves with this one.

message 13: by Tia (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tia I read this a few times I agree with everyone. Parents and teens should have open discussions on everything that they are going through. Teens shouldnt be scare to talk to there parents. There are way worst things in the YA sections that I have read, than this book. Parents have the right to either say "yes or no" to the books the schools are letting teens read. But it's not as bad as other books that teens are reading out side of school on there own time.

talia I think it's especially important not to censor books like this. They provide awareness about very real issues, and isn't it better for a kid to know about an issue and be prepared than be completely oblivious?

Courtney I totally agree with everyone else on this book. Its a good book and coming from someone who is actually in high school, it gave me a better view of that sort of thing. They should not be banning this from schools especially since schools promote abstinence and being careful. If administrators ban this type of a book they are pretty much saying that they don't care what kids do anymore, instead of making us aware that they want us to be safe.

message 16: by Kt (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kt That’s ridiculous! I would not stand for it! There are plenty of worst books out there, and reading a book can’t be as bad as some of the stuff some kids see today, can it?! Injustice!

message 17: by Ana (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ana Wow. "Slaughterhouse Five" is an anti-war classic, "Speak" isn't even that controversial. I don't even think parents should censor their kids' reading. Imagine all the good books that would be banned by parents, all teenagers would have would be Twilight and Disney movies about happily ever after. Books are supposed to educate people on different outlooks to life. In fact, I'm so pissed that my reading in high school was limited, once I got to college I couldn't believe how much I had missed out on.

message 18: by Karen B. (new)

Karen B. Twidlebug wrote: "I just read in EW magazine that an assoicate professor at Missouri state wants to ban this book from public school curriculum along with Sarah Ockler's Twenty Boy Summer and Kurt vonnegut's Slaugh..."

Wow I am shocked...simply because when I was teaching a few years ago Speak a freshman summer reading book and Slaughterhouse Five is in the Junior curriculum.

You just never know. I read something about "banned books" and the shock of shocks was that in one county
Dr. Seuss' The Lorax was banned from public school libraries and the county library system. Booksellers were requested to not make it available.

To me, this is like the principal telling the grade school librarian the kindergarten and First Grade students were only allowed to be read to for five minutes and then needed to go on the computers!

M'n'm I think that the people banning this book are really selfish people. They're banning these books because they think "we can't handle the truth" of the big bad world. But guess wuts gonna happen? All of us are gonna grow up stupid thinking the world is all "happily ever after" and screw ourselves. its just really REALLY sad...

message 20: by trevie (last edited May 26, 2011 06:06PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

trevie i think this book should stay nothing is wrong with it i read this year it was one of the best books i read in English class nothing wrong with they should keep who hating really needs to DIP.... "I READ IT IN HIGH SCHOOL"

Madeline Wow...that's shocking. It should be up to the students (or the parents) what to read, not the school. You can't prevent students from reading a book. The book can also teach them how not to act, because of all those things that happened to her in the book. And school is supposed to prepare them for the outside world, so banning this book is taking a step back from that. I hate when schools ban stupid things like that.

Sasha I think when people disagree, they automatically are inclined to banning versus providing a balance. If a book has a message that you disagree with and you don't necessarily want the message promoted... that's fine, but at the same time you need to provide a balance to the message, aka providing other literature that provides a different perspective. And then, you have to commit to the hardest step, which is simply stepping back and allowing the person/student to decide for themselves. Banning things just shows a fear of controversy even though it is controversy that progresses both ourselves and our peers throughout life.

message 23: by Dee (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dee there are many parents in other states who also want this book banned and other stuff. In fact, recently in PA, it was found out that a teacher of 25 years writes erotic romance under a pen name, has never mentioned those books in her class and parents are calling for her to be fired. I guess i'm lucky in that my parents never tried to prevent me from reading anything and I knew I could always go to them if I had questions.

message 24: by [deleted user] (new)

They are seriously trying to ban this book? It's the person's choice as to whether they read this book or not. I mean, I do think that it should be read by students in high school, maybe more towards juniors and seniors, but still, the book has a very strong message. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think that this book goes into horribly graphic detail about anything in particular. I mean, if they wanted to ban it because of that, then Breaking Dawn would surely have to be banned, yet it isn't because my school had six copies of it. So yeah, generally I think that it shouldn't be banned, and it should be up to the reader whether they decide to read it or not.

message 25: by Karen B. (new)

Karen B. Like Dee I am glad my parents never tried to keep me from reading anything. I have not read this book but it was a summer reading assignment for the freshmen in our school and as far as I know, no one complained at all. I just can't see a need for parents to ask a school to ban a book. If it bothers a parent that much, that is between the parent and child.

message 26: by Mia (new) - added it

Mia i don't think this book should be banned from schools. Probably for 8th grade or up, but if they can read Romeo and Juliet(which has a sex scene) they should be able to read this. Also, it shows how one sparatic decision can effect someone else's life because it is from the point-of-view of the the victim.

message 27: by Dee (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dee I love the fact that students are aware of this issue and if you guys hear about books being banned at your respective schools, I hope that you speak to your parents, and have them speak to the schools

Michelle I can honestly say that I was never limited as to what I could read as a child and do you know what? Nothing I read ever scarred me for life. I did, however, have nightmares from TV, movies, the news....Young readers are not given enough credit! Students know how to choose texts they want to read and know what topics they are comfortable with - I'm a reading specialist, the research supports this and I've seen it in my own classrooms.

I think the concept of banning books is ridiculous - do we really want to live in THAT censored of a society?

I love this book, Laurie Halse Anderson is a mentor writer for me, and I'm working on a similar text. Everyone should read this book!

Gregory Stanton I'm in complete agreement that its ridiculous, banning this book...its a tale of hope and surviving. Lit is meant to teach and does so well, especially when it comes from a good author....

But on another note, I do volunteer work where I come across a lot of middle schoolers, one in particular I was in a book store with and all the while he is telling me how much he doesn't like to read. But oh! He found a book that he read in school (Like Water for Chocolate) and knew the exact page to turn to and showed me where there is a description of a breast (I haven't read the book)...I doubt he could remember even what happened in the story...

Sandra Jones Rebecca wrote: "Why would they even want this book removed from public schools? I think it has a good message behind it.
And, as above, parents should decide what books are innappropriate for their children, not ..."

I agree!

Daniel Klinkhammer I could understand where this ban is coming from, but in my opinion, this book is one that i feel SHOULD be TAUGHT and not just one that people pick up off the bookshelf in the library and read it and return it. The content of it, although quite controversial, is something that definitely should be discussed. The ban on the book would make more people WANT to read the book, which is a good thing, because I feel that many guys who rape girls really don't understand how much of an effect it has on that girl or what it does to her. If it were taught in schools it could have the possibility to make a guy at least think about what he is doing. (I'm not saying that a guy would necessarily stop to think about this, but it COULD potentially.) I don't know. Thats my two-cents. The book is stellar and has a great story/message.

message 32: by Lena (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lena Lisarenee wrote: "As a parent of a teen I say it's a topic that needs discussing and it was handled very well in this book."

Agreed, and also w/ Daniel, above. I just read this book and in the back it had an author Q&A. Anderson said she was shocked b/c so many young boys wrote her asking why Melinda made such a big deal about being raped. I think some guys just think, "oh, it's just sex that a girl didnt want to have." they only think of the physical aspect (yeah, it hurt, but so what? kind of response). I think a lot of young guys dont realize the deep-reaching psychological effect. i agree, this book should be taught and discussed by children and their parents/teachers. it shouldnt be silenced or suppressed because it really happens and people need to know that--that's the message behind this whole book!

Lena Hillbrand

message 33: by Tiffanny (last edited Jun 04, 2011 06:18PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tiffanny It really bothers me when people try to ban books from schools. I understand that some literature might be too mature for some students, but that should be up to the student and the parents. Granted some parents are ignorant to what their children are reading. Speak is an amazing book for teens. Sometimes there are topics that are so personal it is difficult to express with peers and/or parents. Books provide a way for people to learn about these issues about even how they could deal with them without having to put themselves out there too much. For me, books help me express how I'm feeling sometimes and even help me handle situations that are occuring in real life. The only way to ensure that the next generation is open-minded is to make sure that they aren't ignorant and to provide opportunities for them to learn and expand their views.

Also, adults need to really think about the issues that are occuring with kids/pre-teens/teens now days. Just because you ban a book that has a sex scene in it doesn't mean that the children don't know what sex is, or how it occurs. Wouldn't it be better to make sure that they have accurate information than to turn a blind eye? Pre-teens and teens feel emotions so strongly, wouldn't it be wise to give them an outlet to express themselves? Offer another way to show them that there is life beyond middle and high school?

message 34: by Dee (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dee I recommend everyone who loved this book check out Catalyst - its set in the same school and melinda makes an appearance...and you find out that the guy from speak went to trial for what he did

Annie My school district has a no-ban policy, which means that they refuse to ban a single book. Students can request any book through the library and the librarian is obligated to get it for them. You could even read erotica in school as long as you weren't reading it aloud/showing off risque covers or anything. And I think that's the way it should be.

I think it's a shame that some people are afraid of their children reading Speak, when it displays the effects of rape without being graphic or crude in any way. Sad, really.
And Slaughterhouse-Five. Wow. It's not even gory or graphic.

message 36: by Lena (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lena Slaughterhouse Five was assigned reading at my school. I loved that book too. Sounds like you have a very liberal school, Annie. That's great for you!

Annie It was really, really liberal, haha. Every so often we'd get a student who moved from the deep south and they'd be shocked XD

Darci I think that parents that don't allow children to read certain books are completely wrong. Most likely, at least I would, they will make a list of all the books they weren't aloud to read as even teenagers and go back and read them when they're an adult. They'll be exposed to everything in books eventually because books are life, even fantasy ones have glimpses of what is true in life like morals or personalities. It's completely wrong for parents to keep their children away from these harmless experiences. They're reading about it. It's the same as if they read a news article about a murder in their town.

For that same matter, communities or schools should only monitor book reading a bit. I wanted to desperately read highschooler books when I was in elementary school just because the covers looked so much better than the ones I was reading. Of course I wouldn't have understood any of it and once I did get ahold of a high school book and the vocabulary was so advanced that I took it back after 20 pages. I didn't understand any of the contact and have now gone back and read those books that I didn't understand, and now I do understand them.

Really it should be up to the reader to decide what they should read. Parents brainwash their kids into their morals too much, now they're doing it with books which is the least of their problems.

message 39: by Dee (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dee the best way to get kids to read is to tell them they can't read something...the idea of something being forbidden makes it all the more popular

Melanie Sounds like a case of bubbly wrapped parenting. Rape happens, the more we talk about with our children, the more we speak up against, the more women and girls, and young men who will feel safe to speak up.

Annie Perhaps some parents would be ashamed if their daughters did speak up, and want to prevent it.
It's a shame, but some people still have that attitude towards rape... and that's the exact reason why this book shouldn't be banned.

Daniel Klinkhammer Personally speaking, my parents didn't let me read this book when I first bought it. (I was in 4th grade and I got it because it was the same author as Fever 1793, which I read that year.) I guess I would understand not having the book at an elementary school or so, but even so, children will be exposed to subjects such as this whether the parents want them to be or not. If they read about it in a book and discuss it, it could better prepare them for the sad reality that rape actually DOES happen. I know for me, entering high school was a major culture shock because I had a quite sheltered life and i didn't ever really understand the effect that things like alcohol, sexual abuse, self harm, drugs, parental issues, and the like had on people. I don't know exactly where I am going with this, but yeah.. If a parent doesn't want their kid reading something like this, that should be the PARENT'S responsibility, NOT the school board's.

Rebecca Daniel wrote: "Personally speaking, my parents didn't let me read this book when I first bought it. (I was in 4th grade and I got it because it was the same author as Fever 1793, which I read that year.) I guess ..."

I understand being age appropriate but I don't think that banning a book is a good idea.

Parents should be aware of what their children are reading. Your parents decided that that book wasn't appropriate for a 9 year old (or 10 year old?)which is a good thing I don't know any kids that age that are ready for a book like this (I worked with kids in this age group).


You don't have to read a book to discuss rape, if you are watching TV with your kid and the subject of inappropriate touching (I am not trying to water it down I mean molestation, assault, harassment, and rape) comes up would say that you should ask them if they know what that is. start the discussion.

So if the kid is too young for this book maybe they should know what rape is and that it is wrong.

message 44: by [deleted user] (new)

What's "wrong" in this book to make it a candidate for banning, anyway? What, parents assume their children don't know what rape is? Pathetic.

message 45: by [deleted user] (new)

Megan wrote: "What's "wrong" in this book to make it a candidate for banning, anyway? What, parents assume their children don't know what rape is? Pathetic."

Very well said. I don't see the point in banning books school boards think are too "inappropriate." LIFE can be inappropriate, all these authors are doing is tackling real life issues.
What good will come from censoring children from the real world? Will it not make them wiser and more well rounded people to know about these things from an early age?

message 46: by [deleted user] (new)

Annie wrote: "And Slaughterhouse-Five. Wow. It's not even gory or graphic. "

It is, slightly - remember that bit where the one private talks about feeding razor blades to a dog? And the bit with the bodies buried underground in bomb shelters.
That said, though...the gore doesn't justify banning the book. Slaughterhouse-Five has an important message. The same goes for Speak; you can't just ban it b/c it has sex 'in' it. There's a message being portrayed about the sex.

Carla I went to a private school that did not have certain books on the shelves, but we were encouraged to pick up a book of our choice and read one a week. I did. Pushing the boundaries with the nuns quite often, but it was never discouraged or banned. This idea of banning books is primeval. Is it scary to educate, too scary of a subject, takes us back in history that we want to whitewash? Please. In most schools they are all too eager to give children sex ed at a young age, but touch upon what can happen to them, let's not. I was raped and if I had a book that opened the discussion I wouldn't have hid it, held the fear, guilt, blame, and secret. I wholeheartedly agree that as a parent, we need to know what our child is reading, be prepared for discussion, be prepared to ask ...this is our position as their caregivers, the ones to guide them. Unfortunately all it takes is one parent to not want Huck Finn, Tom Sawyer, Slaughterhouse, or Speak.

message 48: by [deleted user] (new)

There are bigger fish to fry in the educational system and the PTO doesn't seem to realize this. Heh..when my mother was in high school in the '70s, one English teacher would tell them "I don't care what you're reading, just as long as you're reading". And what's so bad about that, really? Why have we become so overprotective of how our children experience the world around them? Like an above poster said - they're going to realize everything that their elders try to keep from them eventually. At least by doing so through a book, they're building literary skills.

Alyssa Dobens I think this is actually a good book to read in english class and have multiple class discusions about. So I don't think it should be banned.

message 50: by Weston (last edited Jul 18, 2011 03:45PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Weston Kincade Unfortunately, this is the world we live in. I'm a high school English teacher and an author of a young adult novel that deals with issues along the same vein as Speak. My mother read my book recently and had a similar concern, that the subject matter might be too adult for teenagers. I'm of the same mind as most people here, that many kids are dealing with these same issues, so why wouldn't someone write a book for them that helps them and adults to cope and deal with these issues? And from a teacher's perspective, why would I want the government to state what my students' parents should be deciding, what is appropriate for them? Each time I read something like this, I am shocked that people would want to dictate to others what they can and can't read on a government level, something so tyrannical that it is reminiscent of Hitler and Stallin's regimes. However, it is a free country, so people with those prerogatives have the right to voice them. But for those of us who wish to promote literacy in our children rather than stomping it out, we must speak out and keep the government from ripping the books our children want to read and can learn from, out of their hands.

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