Parents Raise Objections to Novel
The Controversy by Eric Leventhal,Editor-in-Chief
A quiet discussion has been raging this fall at West Geauga. The novel, Feed,
by M.T. Anderson, was temporarily barred from West Geauga's curriculum as a
result of several objections from parents about the book's controversial language.
"I'm disappointed whenever we don't maximize our learning opportunities,"
said Mr. Chris Connell, who assigned the book as summer reading for his freshmen
honors English class.
After parents voiced their concerns to school officials, the issue was put before the Material Review Committee, which consists of teachers, parents, and other district personnel. On September 26, after hearing arguments against the book from concerned parents, the committee removed the book on a technicality. Because Connell never filed the necessary paperwork for the book to be used, the committee concluded that Feed should not be included in the curriculum. However, this move was nothing more than a moot point, for Connell's students had already finished the book and taken their test.
After the meeting, Connell resubmitted the book, using the proper paperwork. This time the Committee offered the opinion that Feed had merit for learning. "Most of us thought the language was appalling, but we decided there was a great deal of merit to the book," said English teacher Ms. Marlene Napalo, who served on the committee.
Feed is set in a futuristic society where everyone has a "feed" connected to his or her brain. The feed, which is connected to the internet, inundates each person with information ranging from seductive advertising to instant messaging. The earth's environmental resources have been depleted to the point where machines are needed to produce fresh air. The book clearly attacks consumer culture and the power of mega-corporations.
If the book is used again, and if parents do raise objections, the Material Review Committee will have to make a judgement on the book's content. The committee must abide by the guidelines of district policy 2540, which requires the committee to, "...bear in mind local community standards as well the principles of the freedom to learn and to read."