(NewsNation Now) — Parents at a Texas high school say they should have been notified about the “pornographic” novel their children were assigned to read in English class.
The parents of Eastlake High School students in El Paso have called the young adult novel “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” inappropriate, citing concerns about sexually graphic content.
The book follows the main character, an observant “wallflower” named Charlie. During the novel, he navigates between adolescence and adulthood, first dates, family drama, and new friends, sex, drugs, loss, young love and “life on the fringes,” according to publisher Simon and Schuster. The book later was adapted to a film that was released in 2012.
Mother Elda Marmolejos said “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” shouldn’t be assigned to such a young age group, particularly with out parental consent.
“The content is very inappropriate. It talks about sex, drugs, alcohol [and] minor abuse,” Marmolejos said. “It goes into detail about (a) teenager being raped and she goes to get an abortion without parental consent. It is very graphic and it is very inappropriate for such a young age group to be reading and just having access to it at a Texas public school. (There is also a part) Where two boys are having sex and the book goes into detail about (it).”
According to Marmelojos, parents – not teachers – should decide what’s appropriate for their children.
The mother met with administrators and spoke at a school board meeting where the book was not on the agenda, she said. She also spoke at an SISD board meeting however the book was not on the agenda.
The school district’s policy allows parents to request a formal review following the informal inquiry about the book. District officials also are reviewing how parents are notified about reading assignments that contain graphic nature.
The book, published in 1999, was written by author Stephen Chbosky and has been challenged or banned by different entities since 2003 and was among the top 10 most most challenged books for seven years between 2004 and 2013, according to the American Library Association. It’s also the latest book to come under scrutiny this year.
Dozens of bills around the country have been proposed or enacted that call for restrictions on books seen as immoral or unpatriotic. A state legislator in Texas, Republican Matt Krause, sent a 16-page spreadsheet to the Texas Education Agency listing more than 800 books he thought worthy of possible banning, including works by Jacqueline Woodson, Ta-Nehisi Coates and Margaret Atwood. Nine novels by the award-winning young adult author Julie Anne Peters, whose narratives often feature LGBT characters, were cited.
Earlier this year, an advertisement for Virginia’s Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin, who won the race, featured a white conservative activist alleging that her son had been traumatized by an assigned high school text. The text, “Beloved” by Toni Morrison, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about a Black woman who fled enslavement and murdered her daughter rather than allow her to be captured.