Young Reader Horror Book Spooking Keller Parents

KELLER (CBSDFW.COM) – A book about mystery solving teens is spooking some Keller Middle School parents, and it has nothing to do with meddling kids.

The book, Skeleton Creek, is a story about two teens who ignore their parents orders and run off into the woods to try and solve a haunting mystery.

The book’s website says it’s for students 10 and up, but the fact the students were reading it for a class is where the mystery began for many Keller parents.

It wasn’t until a permission slip allowing more reading came home that Mike and Jennifer Rudd knew what their 10-year-old was reading.

“We’re just looking at each other amazed she’d been subjected to this in a classroom setting” Jennifer Rudd said.

Keller ISD says only 2 to 3 classrooms have been reading the book in class, but the school agreed to let some students opt out.

But that solution has the Rudds concerned.  While most of the class is still in the same place, reading the same book, other students like their daughter are in another classroom, reading something completely different, and that doesn’t sit well with them. “We’re going to single her out, remove her from the classroom to make a bigger spectacle of,” said Rudd.

In a statement to CBS 11, the district said “Parents of 5th grade students will be invited to preview instruction resources prior to their use in the classroom,” but said there were no plans to remove the book as it’s already being read in class.

The district has a process to review and reconsider books for classroom use, but no formal appeal has been filed for the Skeleton Creek series.

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  • Joe

    It’s the parents fault the kid is being singled out. How stupid are they. So you are going make sure that a book that has been read for years, and the majority of students enjoy doing never kids done because of two parents. What a world we live in. Take your kid out of school and home school them so the rest of the kids have an opportunity to expand their horizons or SHUT UP . Stop dumbing down our education with your ignorance. Parents like those two make me sick. You should have been asking your kid what they have been doing in school and checking her agenda each day. Then you would not have been so shocked to find out what was going on in school. Learn to be a parent so you can make an educated decision and not be another piece of the ignorant crowd. Idiots.

    • Jennifer Rudd

      Joe, just wanted to give you the entire story. We did ask our child what was going on. What do you think prompted all of this? We were not aware of this BEFORE it was introduced to the students. IT IS NOT PART OF THE KELLER ISD CURRICULUM. As a parent, why would you think that a teacher would stray from the curriculum? There is a level of trust there when you are a teacher and a role model. It was not included on her agenda…because the teacher did not notify us that it was being read out loud BY HER to the students. IT WAS NOT PART OF THE CURRICULUM!!! It is not an approved book by the school district. There is a reason that we have pre approved curriculum in place. I personally contacted the teacher. When I asked her what the value was in the book & video, she replied by stating “I thought it would be cool.” That is in no way an appropriate response from an educator entrusted to our children. The principal was not aware the book was being read in class. The principal was not aware that the permission slip had been sent home to parents. The district was not aware. This is a problem! A couple of teachers did this on their own. Kids were being teased because they were scared. This is a very unfortunate incident. I love Keller ISD. I have NEVER had a problem with this district. My husband & I are both very involved with every school our children are in. We are very involoved in every activty. We both support our teachers, principals, and the district. The couple of teachers that introduced this to the children made a bad choice & then tried to cover it up. I pesonallly spoke with the teacher by phone once, the principal by phone numerous times, the superintendent’s office numerous times. Today it is “just a book”. What will tomorrow bring? The bottom line is that every school district has approved curriculum in place for a reason. The curriculum needs to be followed. It is there for a reason. 2 or 3 people should not get to decide what they think would be “cool” and introduce it to our children. I apologize that this message was not relayed better on the news. We approached them 12 days after we received the permission slip from school. I hope after you have the entire story that you understand our concerns more in depth. I agree with you 100%. Parents absolutely should know what is going on in the classroom with their children. Therefore, the teachers need to follow through with the expectations that every parent should have. We need to be allowed to be informed. There is a reason processes are in place. It is all about the best interest of the children. Thank you for your concerns.

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  • NiteNurse

    To be honest when I was forced to read Tom Sawyer in school I was a bit freaked out about the N word being used so much in the book. Of course the teachers had to explain the reasoning for the use of it but still it bothered me. God forbid we ban Mark Twain books!

    • Kr@utBoy

      LOL. My dad uses the word “colored” because of the generation/region he grew up in (born in the early 40’s, Kerrville). He is not a racist person, it’s just ingrained in him, but still, whenever he lets it slip on accident, I cringe and look around (he’s really working on not using the word).

  • Callum

    This is kind of silly. It is only a book. We don’t need to be sacrificing a curriculum already in place because some kids don’t enjoy it. I’m kind of bothered by this reporting, because it doesn’t have anything from the teachers involved. It’s not as if they just decided to force the students to read a scary book; teachers always, always have a curriculum and lesson plans to follow. There is structure to it. So please be aware that the teacher does have a reason for it before you rage.

    • Jennifer

      Please read the other responses that I posted for the details. All of your comments were my thoughts also. THIS BOOK IS NOT INCLUDED IN THE KELLER ISD CURRICULUM. That is why I was floored when she came home with a permission slip that listed the book & the websites with the passwords to view the video. The permission slip stated that it was being sent home because parents were concerned about the material. The kids did not read the book on their own. THE TEACHER READ THE BOOK OUT LOUD TO THE CLASS and THEN TYPED IN THE CODE & SHOWED THEM THE VIDEOS IN CLASS. So, actually, she did force them be exposed to the material. She did not ask the students, the principal, the district, or the parents first. They did not notify us before it was shown to them. It is NOT included in the Keller ISD curriculum. That is why we were so concerned. I, like you, thought that teachers had to abide by the the structured curriculum that they were provided, just like you think. However, that was not the case in this situation. Today it is “only a book” Our concern is what will it be tomorrow. This teacher should have had red flags go off in her head when she herself, an educated adult teacher, was reading the book out loud to her 10year old students & showing them the videos in class. She did not. That is why we are concerned. She had a horrible lack of judgement. Then, by her choosing to continue with the book when parents and students had issues with it is extremely concerning. The principal said that since the book was already being read in class, she would not stop it. Eventhough, a permission slip was sent out AFTER THE FACT. She said that would be “censorship”. Again, this is very unsettling to me as a parent of a 10 year old child. She is 10 years old. She NEEDS to be censored. That is why everything has ratings on it. My role as a parent is to provide the “censorship” that she needs by determining what is or is NOT appropriate for her to be exposed to. That is my right as her parent. The teacher took that right away when she exposed her to this in her classroom. If I the parent want to expose her to it, that is MY CHOiCE. I send her to school to learn the curriculum that Keller ISD has put in place. Thank you for all of your concerns.

      • Kelli

        Have you read the book? Because sounds like you haven’t. The fact that the book is described as two teens disobeying their parents shows that you have not read the book and therefore have no idea what it’s about. Yes it involves ghosts, but it deals with those same ‘disobedient’ teenagers researching a town mystery and eventually righting a wrong, or otherwise known as doing the right thing. Instead of using the curriculum to hide your ignorance, READ the book. I’ve read the book and it’s no where near Blair Witch or X-files. Your comparison just further illustrates the fact you have not read this book. I’m sorry that your kid was one of the ones scared, but use this opportunity to BE a parent and teach your children about the difference between fantasy and reality and address whatever fears your kid has.

  • Misty

    Omg!!! These parents need to just cool off it is only a story!!!! and by now the kids know the difference between real and not real so just get over it already!!! it really aggravates me when parents are way to over protective of their children, it is only a story so get over it people!!!!

  • Jennifer

    For clarification purposes… THIS IS NOT PART OF THE CURRICULUM! This is not a story that has been read for years. 2-3 teachers decided on their own to read it out loud to students and show the videos in class. The teacher DID NOT HAVE APPROVAL to do this. How would parents know about this if they were not told. They were not told IN ADVANCE. Kids complained to their parents because they were scared. It’s compared to Blair Witch and the X-files. The permission slip was sent home after the kids were exposed to it BECAUSE PARENTS WERE CONCERNED! When questioned, the principal of the school was not aware the book & videos were being shown. She was not aware of the permission slip that was sent home to parents! This is a problem. A teacher should not have the right to bring things into the classroom that ARE NOT PART OF THE PREAPPROVED CURRICULUM. She did not have approval from her principal, Keller ISD, or parents. There is a reason why we have approved curriculum. The news did not explain that this was not part of the curriculum. Teachers need to stick to the curriculum, then we would not have situations like this.

    • Doug

      Jennifer, I understand your concerns about the teacher not following the CURRICULUM. You have made that really clear in every one of your posts. Here is the issue, your child is growing up. If you are struggling with the fact that a teacher read and showed a video in class that you were not aware of you, you are going to have a lot of very hard times coming up in the near future. At 10 years old, your child is on the brink of spending most of her life outside of your control. You can not and should not pretend that you are going to always know what your child is going to be exposed to. Instead of throwing a tantrum over the fact that it is not “part of the curriculum”, you really should be using this opportunity to help your child get prepared for the rest of her life. She can either learn now how to deal with things that are difficult or foreign to her, or she can continue to live under your over protective parenting, until the day that she is no longer willing to put up with mom any more. Let me tell you, she would be much better off to learn it now when the struggle is with being scared of an innocent story then in a couple years when it is going to be drugs, sex, etc that she has to figure out. Teach her how to be discerning now, and she will be in a much better place in a couple of years. Keep being over protective and trying to control everything that she is exposed to and you will be longing for these insignificant issues really soon.

  • Lisa

    I am so glad that there are still parents in this world who care about what their child is exposed to at home and at school. Good job Mike and Jennifer for standing up for your child

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  • Misty

    The children wouldn’t have been so scared if the parents had introduced to them these kind of stories and explained to them that they are just stories and not real and will never actually happen so who is really to blame here????

  • Dee

    It is your right and privilege as a parent to decide what is appropriate for your child. I had never heard of the book so I looked it up online. It was published by Scholastic Publishing which would lead one to believe it would be ok. Upon further searching, it is listed on the Amazon website for Best Sellers # 10,907. Broken down into category as follows:
    #17 in Books> Children’s Books> Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror> Spine Chilling Horror.
    #92 in books> Children’s Books> Mysteries, Espionage & Detectives.
    Apparently, by these numbers it is a popular book. Spine Chilling Horror would not be on my list of ok books for my 10 year old read and watch video from.

    It appears to me, you went through the proper channels of teacher, principal, superintendent’s office. If the permission slip was sent home after the book/video was started it was an attempt to cover all her bases so she would not get into trouble.

    I applaud you for voicing your concern. So many parents in our society would have let it just go by because if it was in school it must be “ok”. Being a parent is much more than bringing a child into this world.

  • Damon

    To Jennifer, you keep saying that the book wasn’t on the School’s Curriculum. I am a Keller Teacher. At intermediate schools, there is no approved list of literature. Teachers have District Objectives to follow. We choose books to read and address the objectives(drawing conlusions, characterization, cause and effect etc..) as we’re reading. This book isn’t exactly a classic, but it does peak interest in reading for many kids. I choose books based on age appropriateness, quality, student interest and reading level. I have read this book before in my class last year after TAKS. I’m not reading it his year because I just thought is was weak writing. If teachers want to use a book with a video component they can use Trackers by Patrick Carmen(same author), totally different content . Also, your husband’s comment about Blair Witch Project was exaggeration. Let’s not get silly. I’ve seen that, Skeleton Creek isn’t even close. Its more like Goosebumps movies on Nikelodian, scary but age appropriate. Anyway, just don’t misinform your readers about the book not being on the “Curriculum”, as no books are mentioned specifically at this grade level.

    • Jennifer

      Damon, the fact that you state that there is not an approved list of literature is a problem within the Keller ISD and any other school district. Your above rationale for the book was an acceptable & expected response from a teacher…not that “I thought it would be cool”. That was the explanation that I was given by my child’s teacher. By your own statement this book contains “weak writing”. What would the educational purpose be then? They can read this at home if their parents approve. As you are aware, every parent raises their kid in the way that they feel is best. Thar is our right as a parent. I am not aware of Trackers…but if it is appropriate for 10-11 year olds, then read that. There are plenty of other books to read that are not controversial. There are many award winning applroved reading lists. Pick a book from that list. The bottom line is that a permission slip was generated by the school, obviously without the principal being aware. The permission slip was sent home to parents because kids were scared & parents had complained. I don’t think that is a good example of teamwork. Why send the permission slip home when it has already been read to the kids & the videos have been shown in the classroom. Then, it did not matter about the parent’s response, because the principal stated she would not stop the book from being read because it was already introduced. She said this would be “censorship”. Why ask for the parent’s input then if you have no intention of listening to the responses. As a teacher, I am sure that you can appreciate getting the parent’s invloved in their child’s education. Obviously, that is the child’s best interest. As a parent we should have the courtesy to know what is being exposed to our child in the classroom. The website for the book compared it as a mix between Blair Witch and the X files. We did not come up with that. If we would have been sent the permission slip home in advance, we wouldn’t be here. If we would have been told about this at Meet the Teacher, we wouldn’t be here. We get weekly newsletters from the teacher. Under the Language Arts section, the teacher never informed the parents that this was being incorporated into her classroom. As a parent, my expectation, is that the teachers and parents will work TOGETHER as a team looking out for the best interest of the child. Not informing the parent’s was NOT in the child’s best interest. The fact that you state that there is NOT approved curriculum is a problem. That is what my issue is also. There needs to be. One teacher’s opinion of appropriateness is different from another’s. There is too much gray area. There needs to be a black & white to prevent bad judgements in the future. It is sad that this could not have been solved prior to getting the media involved. I took the appropriate steps. It didn’t matter. I have spoken with many teachers & parents about this issue. I have received uncountable amounts of support and thank yous. We are not alone. We are just the ones that stood up for our beliefs publicly.

  • Stan

    Wow! It appears that Keller has more problems than thought. One teacher reads things because it’s cool. Another teacher reads things with weak writing. You pay outrageous taxes. You now have to pay for your kiddos to ride the bus to school on top of your taxes. You Keller ISD parents should be running away as fast as you can. Why is there so much debate about this? Common sense says it’s creating a problem. Solve it. Don’t make excuses for it. Now a teacher for Keller ISD puts in writing that he read the book, too & he says Keller does not have reading curriculum. I guess I must misunderstand. Isn’t that what the parents are complaining about in the first place? Keller ISD needs to get a clue. Get a new superintendant that actually cares obout your kiddos. Quit attacking parents for standing up for their rights. Keller ISD employees, is this really the message that you want to send? Grow up and take care of those kiddos and support your parents!

    • Jarred

      Do you live in Keller?

  • Jarred

    It’s funny how they “Over Dramatize” the whole story. “It’s gone to wheels on the bus to Blair which project.” This book is nothing like the Blair which project. The book is a little spooky, but it’s not paranormal activity. I also find it misleading how they introduce the book as “Two teens disobeying their parent to solve a mystery.” The characters are two SEVENTEEN year old’s, practically adults. If disobeying their adults is bad then you should do a report on half the cartoons that are aired these days. If you are going to be reporting something, don’t be biased to an overprotective parent.

  • Ally


    I have a question for you. Did you read the book? I’m catching bits and pieces of this argument and I haven’t been able to see if you’ve actually read it and what your opinion of the story is.

  • Marie

    I’ve read these books, and let me tell you, as a 10 year old I would have eaten them up faster than my Halloween candy. Granted, I can see how some 10 year olds might be spooked, but they’re not terrifyingly scary. We all need to relax and take this at face value: It’s a fictional book.

  • Mackenzie

    I was 10 years old when I read the first book of the Skeleton Creek series. I found it a bit spooky, but that’s the whole point of the book. It’s a GHOST story. If you’re child is having nightmares, I understand why you would be mad, but if he or she is fine, then I see no reason why you should be upset. I am 13 years old and I am looking at this arguement from both sides. Your side and the teacher’s side. The person who I agree with is the teacher. She is trying to get kids intersted in reading, not traumatize them. Also, you say that your child needs to be sheltered. If you’re not even letting your child read books like this, then what’s going to happen when he or she gets older? I understand that you are trying to protect your child, but I think you are being a bit too dramatic.

  • Janelle

    My kids came home with this book as well. It was recommended by the librarian. It is a great story. It is scary, but some of the best are. My son, who hated to read, now loves reading thanks to the Skeleton Creek series.

  • Allyson

    I completely agree. If it weren’t for books like Skeleton Creek and Goosebumps, I wouldn’t love reading as much as I do today. I devour at least one book a week because I developed a love of reading scary/ ghost stories. Since then, I’ve expanded my reading interests and read a little of everything, but it is because of authors like Patrick Carman that reading doesn’t feel like a chore. If the child seems alright with the content and the book is age appropriate, what is the problem? So what if the teacher wanted to introduce something that was fun or “cool” to the curriculum. If kids can’t have fun while reading and learning, they will eventually start to hate school and not be as interested in learning. I think 10 years old is old enough for your child to decide whether or not he or she is alright with reading something that falls within the confines of YA Literature (Ages 7 to 12). Jesus, it’s not like the teacher said, “Hey everyone, let’s read Stephen King’s The Shining.” I’m really disappointed because most of the time, the people complaining haven’t take the time to read the content they’ve deemed “inappropriate.” And, if we’re only concerned with school curriculum, why let the child read ANYTHING for fun? What will you do when the child gets to high school and is forced to read more controversial subject matter? You cannot shelter your child from everything. You should be more concerned with what she’s learning from her friends and the outside world than Skeleton Creek…

  • Carissa Dollar

    Books like this ENGAGE KIDS. I’m pretty sure this is why the teachers picked it. Kids in my daughter’s 5th grade class are eating these books up and BEGGING for book fair money to buy their own copies. ENGAGED READERS are good things!

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