…and sometimes, it’s the wrong voice.
In this local case, it took only one very vocal complaint from Lisa Baldwin, a former school board member and parent, to interrupt the 10th grade honors English class at Reynold’s High School from reading The Kite Runner.
“This is the first documented parent objection to this text,” said Susanne Swanger, Buncombe County Schools’ associate superintendent. The book was temporarily pulled from the curriculum a week ago after Baldwin’s complaint claiming the book’s elements of homosexuality and sexually explicit scenes were inappropriate for high school students.
The award-winning book by Afghan-American author Khaled Hosseini has been on the school system’s high school approved reading list for years. While it does contain some offensive language, violence, and a sexually explicit scene, it is not gratuitous and shapes the character’s decisions in the tale.
Happily, MTAC (The Media/Technology Advisory Committee) at A.C. Reynolds High School has deliberated and determined that The Kite Runner “possesses sufficient literary, thematic, and aesthetic merits to warrant its inclusion for study at teacher discretion.” Parental discretion already applies, as well. The teacher sent students home with letters for their parents explaining the text and potentially sensitive subject matter, offering an opt-out which provides an alternate text for students; All Quiet on the Western Front.
Hopefully, Mrs. Baldwin will not feel the need to appeal the MTAC decision and further slow down an already cramped school curriculum at the close of a busy year.