Do You Know What YOUR Child Is Reading?

Parental Rights and Controversial Books in Public School Curricula

Editor’s note: So far, the vast majority of the public has only heard opinions of suitability of reading materials for school curricula, not the actual material. Short of having everyone read the books in question, Dr. Amy Chen brings you actual excerpts, warts and all. Some of the questionable passages here are only used to bring to the attention of the public what the CVUSD administration and certain political pressure groups want to introduce to school children’s curricula. 

There has been an inordinate amount of attention on the local school board and their role in the approval of books. Sadly, accusations of censorship against the school board are distorted and preposterous. For example, some falsely accuse them of censoring the best quality works, betraying the trust of students and parents, threatening our students’ futures, and threatening our students’ acceptance success to colleges.  These accusations are fallacious and melodramatic because the process of approving the best books inherently involves selecting certain books while rejecting others. Inevitably, some quality works will not make the approved list for various reasons.

We have layers of checks and balances on a book’s journey to approval, the last layer being with the school board for final approval. The school board is obligated to represent the parents and community, preserve parental rights, and protect students. It is certainly not an empty formality. It is dirty politics to personally attack any school board member for doing his or her job with careful discretion.

For any book, you will be able to find good and bad reviews. Even experts and teachers disagree with what the best selections should be, therefore you will see different book lists in different districts. For example, while some advocate Snow Falling on Cedars, I have talked to teachers that say they cannot even teach such a book because of its pornographic content.

Snow Falling on Cedars is one of the books already on the approved list. It was approved by experts for a myriad of reasons including its developmentally appropriate, engaging, and meaningful content to 15-17 year old students. Unfortunately, this controversial book’s debate has become something of a contentious book review club where one side claims obscenity while the other side claims it’s one of the most extraordinary books in the world. Therefore it is most important that we read the book itself for the truth and see if we agree with the experts.

Below is an excerpt from Snow Falling on Cedars, an approved book for 11th graders, minors as young as 15 year olds.

On page 91 of the book:

“She could see beneath the fabric of his underpants how his penis stood erect….Kabuo kissed the undersides of her breasts, and then her nipples through the fabric of her bra…soon, she would feel another boy’s hardness deep inside of her. ….She put her hand around Kabuo’s hardness and squeezed it, and it pulsed once in her hand. Then, because she wanted it this way, she fell onto her back without letting go, and he was on top of her…

The head of his penis found the place it wanted.  For a moment he waited there, poised …  Then with his hands he pulled her to him and at the same time entered her so that she felt his scrotum slap against her skin.  Her entire body felt the rightness of it, her entire body was seized to it. Hatsue arched her shoulder blades–her breasts pressed themselves against his chest—and a slow shudder ran through her.”   

Page 298-299:

“…She washed his large penis and felt it harden in her fingers. She put her arms around his neck, locked her feet at the small of his back. Carl held her up with his strong hands clenching the muscles of her legs and leaned the side of his face against her breasts and took to licking them…,”

Clearly, this is pornography by any reasonable person’s standards. After reading this book, we should question the credibility of experts who approved this, and individuals/groups such as Indivisible Conejo and the AAUW who advocate for this book.  No one is trying to censor this from the libraries or prevent any family from reading this to their minor children. However, it should concern us all when a school can require minors to read explicit graphic sex without any enhanced parental consent. Context does not matter here. Just as we would not require minors to watch a movie at school with just few pornographic scenes no matter how good the rest of the movie is, we cannot require minors to read just a few pages of porn because some people say the rest of the book is extraordinary.

The same expert committees also now advocate for the other controversial book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian. Obviously there are many good people in the schools whom we respect, but we must always exercise careful discernment instead of deferring to anyone blindly.

For example, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian has been fanatically and nonsensically claimed in multiple letters and comments as the book that will bring hope, tolerance, diversity, and healing to the community while at the same time combating racism, discrimination, and misogyny in addition to a myriad of other benefits to our students. Conveniently, these are the same blanket extreme narratives repeatedly used to justify almost every radical position or sentiment these days. It is manufactured hysteria meant to shut down discussion because all one has to do is claim that something promotes tolerance and diversity, and therefore anyone who disagrees can be called an intolerant racist.  

In fact, this book may do the opposite. Here is an excerpt from the book:

“Hey, Chief,” Roger said. “You want to hear a joke?”

“Sure,” I said.

“Did you know that Indians are living proof that niggers fuck buffalo?”

We should all be concerned over what is being pushed onto our children. Once a book is approved, the book is available for the teacher to use as required reading for the class. Currently, despite the misinformation put out there, a student cannot legally opt out of public school curriculum including books. It is up to the teacher’s discretion to grant the request. The student must also face the possibility of discrimination and retaliation for speaking up and disagreeing.

Once we lose our parental right to protect our children from clearly age inappropriate books, inevitably we will lose other rights.  We must proceed with determination, conviction, and courage knowing that this is not just about books, but it’s a fight to preserve parental and student rights.

Dr. Amy Chen, mother of 3 children and 2 dogs, feels the strong conviction to speak up and expose the truth regarding the current predicament in the public schools.For the sake of our children and community, she is in this for the long term to advocate for parental rights. 

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Stephen Allen

Thanks for sharing theses excerpts. Anyone who thinks literature of this type is absolutely required in schools does not understand what is true academic rigor.

William Hicks

The question has to be asked…….”Is there a connection between Common Core policies and the reduced student attendance in CVUSD?”

What’s the point of electing school board members if they have to rubber stamp the “experts” decision of book choices?