Water For No One

Back in December, a Bedford (New Hampshire) couple--Aimee and Dennis Taylor--objected to the use of Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America in a high school finance class because of the description of Jesus being "a wine-guzzling vagrant and precocious socialist." And:
Aimee and Dennis Taylor complained about the book's foul language, descriptions of drug use and characterization of Christianity when it was assigned to their son's personal finance class at Bedford High School in the fall and later pulled him out of school at his request. On Monday, they asked the school board to remove the book from the curriculum and create a committee of parents to review and rate all other books used in the school, but the board held off on making a decision until it hears from its curriculum committee next month.

Dennis Taylor said school officials were either utterly careless in choosing the book or were "intentionally agreeing with Ehrenreich and taking the position that Jesus was a drunken bum."

"The administration and the people with the master's degrees taking care of our children clearly in this case seemed to lack common sense, common decency and with regard to civil rights, an understanding of common law," he said.

He noted that had the book been turned into a movie, his son would be too young to see it given the obscenities. And both he and his wife said the passages about Jesus were an attack on their son's faith.
They're back at it again, this time attacking Sara Gruen's Water For Elephants. Now they want everyone who approved its use to be fired.

A second book has been pulled from the Bedford High School curriculum following complaints about its sexual content by the same parents who started the argument about “Nickel and Dimed: On Not Getting By In America,” which was removed from the high school’s personal finance course last month.

Sara Gruen’s best-selling book “Water for Elephants” was scheduled to be used in one of the high school’s intersession programs – three-day experiences in April geared to give students a valuable opportunity beyond the classroom – but Bedford High School Principal Bill Hagen said the decision was made last week to remove that course as an option.

Bedford residents Dennis and Aimee Taylor sent complaints to Hagen and Superintendent Tim Mayes about the book last week and denounced the text at the Bedford School Board meeting Monday.

Dennis Taylor said he read “Water for Elephants” in its entirety after his youngest son, Ethan, signed up for the intersession course. His oldest son, Jordan, was pulled out of school following the controversy about “Nickel and Dimed.”

Taylor said he was appalled by the “graphic descriptions” of oral sex and masturbation in “Water for Elephants,” which is a historical novel about an old man remembering his time as a circus veterinarian during the Great Depression.


“This book is likely to be a rated-X book, and thus, is totally unsuitable for use by the school,” Taylor said in an e-mail. “I advocate that all persons responsible for the chain of events that lead to this book being used be fired or terminated from the School Board.”

Taylor further suggested that the school only allow “youth versions” of particular books or organize a parental review system over the summer that would look at books that students need parental permission to read.

“I intend to fight every similar book that crosses my path,” Taylor said.
Now, this "intersession" is optional and the choice to read Water For Elephants was optional within this optional course. AND there was a permission slip sent home about it.

The school pulled it anyway. Why? Because they wanted to avoid the controversy that came when dealing with Nickel and Dimed. While that is kinda, sorta understandable...no. Just no. Now every time this notorious book-banning couple finds something they personally object to, they'll raise a stink. You've given into their tantrum and that's not ok. You could have told them that they're free to not allow their kid to read the optional book in the optional course. To pull him out of it. However, all the OTHER PARENTS who approved it for THEIR children also get consideration and you will not take it away from them. Those kids are important too.

Personally, I adore Water For Elephants. I didn't expect to really like it, much less love it. It's also being made into a movie (which could be a good thing or not, as adaptations don't always go well). You can see the trailer here.

I have nothing but contempt for book banners.

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