Letter: In defense of "Wallflower"
To the Editor:
I am ashamed, angry and tremendously disappointed that the board of education has voted to ban a book from the library at Hadley, the very same school that fostered my love of the written word.
Stephen Chbosky's "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" should not have been banned. It does not promote hatred, bigotry, or violence, nor does it advocate chaos or crime.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is precisely the kind of novel that 8th graders should be reading. Yes, drugs appear in the novel. Yes, individuals explore and express their sexuality. Yes, there is a gay character.
But experimentation, love and lust are part of growing up. Banning a book that happens to have a few scenes where characters do drugs and have sex won't stop young people from doing drugs or having sex.
If you want to protect the innocence of 13- and 14-year-olds, engage in open, honest conversations with them about drugs and sex, so they can make responsible, informed decisions. Treat them like the young adults they are, instead of patronizing them and limiting their access to knowledge and information.
The board of education needs to decide if it is a board committed to protecting the right of students to have free access to pieces of literature that will support them, challenge them, interest them and provoke them, and in the process make them into young adults that think and feel deeply.
Hadley Junior High Class of 2000