DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Sex… profanity… rape. Those are just three of the controversial subjects many parents in the Highland Park Independent School District don’t want their children reading about in school.

They’re concerned about summer reading lists, which students have just wrapped up their reports on. It’s an age-old debate – what’s appropriate for required reading in school?

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“Books don’t’ just cater to taste. They form taste,” according to parent Tavia Hunt. She has concerns about her daughter’s sophomore summer reading.

One of dozens of parents who voiced their concerns to the Highland Park School Board Tuesday night, Hunt said her daughter’s list “was surprisingly obscene and lewd.”

“I think everything is more graphic today, whether it’s movies, books, whatever it is,” said parent Meg Bakich.

The mother of five said some of the topics the school is teaching are best broached at home – not school.

“It’s’s our children not yours. We will decide what our children will be taught and exposed to,” said Bakich.

Principal Walter Kelly said teachers are trying to make the right choices – balancing what’s developmentally appropriate, and intellectually challenging.

“Teachers have to make those decisions each day. What do I bring to class? How do I connect an ongoing theme with a current issue that means something to kids in their lives?”

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Kelly said that starting this year, the district has posted the approved book lists online. They formalized the process for recruiting parents to review books on the list. Two books were removed this year after parents objected to their titles and subject matter.

Like any parent, Hunt said their issue all comes down to wanting what is best for their children.

“I know we all want what’s best for these kids. I’m just not sure we all agree on the process. And hopefully we can work together to come up with a solution,” said Hunt.

Parents may request alternative books when they feel a title isn’t inappropriate. They may also review the entire curriculum and syllabus for an English class online.


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