Plot Thickens: Highland Park Parents Protest Book Ban

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HIGHLAND PARK, TX —Coincidentally, during Banned Books Week, which celebrates the freedom to read, seven books at Highland Park High might be getting the boot.

It happened after a group of parents protested seven required books with themes they thought were too suggestive -- books that referenced sex, rape and abortion.

“Sheer frustration and disbelief that this has happened in our schools in 2014,” parent Natalie Davis said.

The district suspended the books, according to the letter parents got Monday.

But Laurie Steinberg and Natalie Davis are two parents who don’t agree with this story line. They want the books out of time out.

“[To] take away literature written by Pulitzer Prize winning authors in the name of one line, in a 300 page book, is ludicrous,” she added.

They’re not alone. More than 500 people have signed another petition.  The duo is working to kick off an e-mail campaign.

“It says in the policies, access will not be restricted while a book is being challenged. That’s not what’s happening,” Davis said.

The school pulled the books for further review. They call it  a setback for teachers and students.

“[It is] Irresponsible treatment of a class in process,” Davis said.

“These are beautifully written books, by well-known authors, the curriculum has been disrupted,” Steinberg said.

“From my daughter’s perspective, the class is in a state of disarray.  They’re scrambling.  They really don’t have a lesson plan,” Davis added.

Jeannette Walls, author of one suspended book, The Glass Castle, was set to speak at the district’s literacy festival this year.

“Parents are heartbroken,” Steinberg said. "It’s an embarrassment.”

“My daughter asked me, would I please have our group reach out to the author of this book [The Art of Racing in the Rain.] Most of them plan to continue reading this book with their parents permission,”   Davis said.

“We admire our teachers for being able to tackle subject matter that might be uncomfortable for some,” Steinberg said.

Click here for HPISD's approved book list.  Click here for the petition against suspending the seven books.

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