Recently schools in Bedford County, Va. have pulled two books from school library shelves due to complaints from parents of inappropriate material.
A book about a gay teenage boy titled "Totally Joe" was pulled from one elementary school, and a book titled "The Making of Doctor True Love" was pulled from a high school library.
The parents complained that the books included too heavy of material, and extremely sexual wording, respectively.
Both books are not in circulation in any Bedford County school library or public library.
Only a few books are pulled from shelves a year. Bedford County's process for pulling books begins when a parent complains about a book's content.
Then a media specialist reads the book to determine if the complaint is a substantial claim and if the book should or should not be pulled from the shelves. If the media specialist decides that the book should stay in the library, then the parent may write a formal request for a committee to review the book.
In a world where people hold infinite opinions and viewpoints, it seems a little extreme to pull a book due to one parent's opinion. Each book received only one complaint before it was pulled from the shelves.
For every parent who does not think material concerning homosexuality is appropriate for elementary school children, there is a parent who is comfortable with his or her child reading "Totally Joe."
Likewise, for every parent who finds the content in "The Making of Doctor True Love" too graphic for high schoolers, there is a parent who thinks teenagers have the right to read what they want.
It seems that the school boards are too quick to please one parent without considering the parent community as a whole. Instead of making a decision based on one complaint, perhaps the issue should go to the Parent-Teacher Association where parents and teachers who are in direct contact with the students can vote on what would be in the best interest of the kids.
It seems that the parents and teachers could make a better decision than someone who is labeled a "media specialist." What exactly are the qualifications for someone to become a media specialist, and why is he or she more capable of making the correct decision regarding a book's appropriateness?
While the de-shelving process needs work, the parent who complained about "Totally Joe" in the elementary school has a point. A book about homosexuality may be too mature for a seven year-old.
However, what material is too graphic for a highly sexual teenage generation? Teenagers who are old enough to drive and have jobs are old enough to read a book maturely and make their own decisions on whether or not they want to read such a book as "The Making of Doctor True Love."
There are legitimate arguments that can be made against books being available in school libraries. If such an argument is made, then it should not be the responsibility of one person, or a committee not directly connected to the students affected, to decide whether or not a book should stay in the library for students to read.