Parent's Complaint May Get Novel Banned In Schools

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The parent of a Choctawhatchee High School student wants the Okaloosa County School Board to ban a novel from the classroom.

"The Kite Runner” takes place in Afghanistan during the fall of the monarchy and focuses on the wrath of the Taliban regime.

The parent says the book's mature content is inappropriate for all high school students, but some school administrators and students disagree.

Critics describe "The Kite Runner” as a powerful and moving portrait of modern Afghanistan.

Students in advanced and honors classes at both Choctaw and Ft. Walton Beach High School read the story as part of the class' curriculum.

But one ft. Walton beach parent has submitted a request for reconsideration of education materials to the Okaloosa County School District.

Diane Kelley, the Director of Curriculum, says “In this particular complaint, that parent sees this work as not worthy of being read by any student. That's the reason why she's taking it forward to both schools in which the book is being used."

The book tells the story of a man who, as a young boy, did nothing when the Taliban raped his friend.

The concerned parent says some of the content in the novel "The Kite Runner” is inappropriate, but some students say the book is relevant especially in today's times.

Sophomore Zack Urenda says, “This is like the real word. This is what goes on in other countries and it really opens your eyes with the war.”

Sophomore Miles Sims says, “So we know what's going on in the world. That's what parents always complain about; you don't know what's going on in the world and everything. These books teach us that."

Ft. Walton Beach's principal says she understands the novel's language is mature, but says teachers are sensitive to the subject.

Charlene Couvillon, FWBHS Principal, says, "Really our students know nothing about, and I didn't as an adult know what life under the Taliban would be about. We just felt like yes it had some pretty mature scenes and mature language but our kids can handle that under the guidance of very, very qualified teachers."

Parents also have the right to request a substitute book for their child.

That's why Principal Charlene Couvillon feels one complaint shouldn't dictate a district-wide ban.

"I think as a parent I have the right to say I don't want my child to read that book but I don't have the right to say that for your child."

The parent's complaint will go before a committee made up of parents, teachers, and administrators.

The group will thoroughly review the sections in question, and then give their recommendation to the school board.

Then school board members will decide if the book should be banned.

“We look at both sides of the issue. We don't deem this to be a light matter at all and constantly consider the value for the student."

News Channel 7 made several attempts to contact the parent for a comment, but wasn't able to reach her.

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