October C.E.P.T.A. meeting

October C.E.P.T.A. meeting East Penn School District “Policy 109” report

October C.E.P.T.A. meeting

East Penn School District “Policy 109” report

 Our East Penn school district has been gripped by a strong controversy concerning sexually explicit materials in the recommended book reading lists for 9th and 10th grades. The alarm has been sounded because several texts contain very sexually explicit passages.

The request asked that “Prep” written by Curtis Sittenfeld and “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test” written by Tom Wolfe be removed from the EPSD Summer reading list.  This has caused a lot of confusion as to what is really being requested and how it will be handled. We at C.E.P.T.A. (Concerned East Penn Taxpayers Association) featured this topic for our October monthly meeting. The focus was “Policy 109”; this is the method the general public must use to have changes in curriculum take place within our schools. We at CEPTA encourage all citizens to become informed and learn how they can help within their communities and this month’s three CEPTA speakers were especially informative and proactive.

Because this is not the first time policy 109 actions have taken place in our school district, (It has happened at least twice before since 2007) we invited three speakers, (policy 109 files were initiated by two); Mrs. Kelly Gravereaux back in 2011 and Mrs. Megan Slifka this September 24th and another citizen Mr. Eric Adams, a proactive parent within the Bethlehem school district.

Mrs. Gravereaux’s intent was to have “PREP” removed from the 8th grade or middle school level where the children average 11-13 years old.  She was successful; however it never came before the School Board to make that decision. In her case she said that after meeting with the principal, Eyer Middle school removed it because of its sexually explicit content and because it was located in only one of the two middle school libraries. Unfortunately, Prep can still be found in the EMMAUS high school library.

Mrs. Slifka wanted to have her policy 109 filing remove both books from the High School level where the children reading “Prep” would be 13 years old or going into the 9th grade. She has met with Mr. Piperato, Emmaus High School Principal, and is hopeful to prevail in her complaint.  Mrs. Slifka’s main point is that the more people actually requesting action (a one page form found on the EPSD web site #109) will convince the administration to reverse their promotion of sexually explicit literature to children. That means that  more people( that are as offended as she is about the extreme sexual explicitness), fill out the Policy 109 form and send it in or better yet come to a school board meeting and hand it in. Mrs Slifka also offered assistance to others in filling out the form.

Mr. Adams gave an excellent slide presentation of the policy, how it was designed to work, and how the citizen can use it to make meaningful changes within the district curriculum. In one slide it describes the Author of “Prep” and her own trepidation. The author of Prep tells an interviewer why she waited over a year to show the book to her own parents (p. 414):

“My [parents] thought it would have been a better book without the last chapter. I think they thought the last chapter was unnecessarily graphic.”

For your interest we have placed a video of this program on a web site for your viewing and we will update this topic as more information comes in. Until then you can access it at www.epcat.us/?page_id=943 . There are also videos of most of the EPSD and Emmaus Borough committee meetings on this epcat.us site.

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srodham69 November 14, 2012 at 07:29 PM
I am not particularly alarmed at reading this because it is such a transparently phony ideology. Each year at this time, as recruiting begins for board candidates, they contrive some issue around which to rally in order to gain support. This year, surprisingly, Cepta takes a page from the Nazis of Germany, who banned such "evil" authors such as London and Kafka, and has decided to censor reading lists. I looked at the list and have a brilliant suggestion: don't read it. There are tons of books to choose from. Stop infringing on other people's personal freedom. And if you have so much time on your hands, why don't you volunteer to work for the literacy league?
Bob Wendt November 15, 2012 at 02:30 AM
Burning books... shades of 1933... courtesy of the Slozer crowd that almost destroyed the EPSD with their "books not bricks" mantra some years ago
Garrett Rhoads November 17, 2012 at 05:47 AM
As I returned this evening from the 6th grade class trip of the Lower Macungie Middle School where I volunteered as a parent guide, I would like to outline the reading list that you claim, "has tons of books". Here's the breakdown. 19 books in total at the time of the initial objection. Ten had to do with sports. Two were classics. That leaves us with seven books left. Three of the seven remaining were non-fiction stories in which all three portrayed public school teachers as heroes to society (and they can be). That leaves us with a grand total of FOUR modern fiction books for the students to choose from, one of which is the book under consideration. In contrast, the Parkland School District list for this grade level is comprised of over 100 books. I have taken the time to read this book and I agree with the author's parents. But for the last chapter, it is a good book. Unfortunately, the last chapter is not suitable for the grade level in which it is recommended. That is why this book is sold in stores as "Adult Fiction" and cannot be found in the youth section for good reason. Am I the only one who is curious as to why PATCH has not reported the results of Book Reading Forum they proposed and completed? Could it be that those of us who have read it understand the objection to it? I would propose that when election time comes around, the folks who hate CEPTA start posting articles of intolerance towards anyone who does not agree with their political agenda.
Garrett Rhoads November 17, 2012 at 05:55 AM
By the way, the folks from Cepta NEVER asked for the book to be banned or removed from the High School library. The initial request from the public was to have the book replaced on a recommended reading list. Not removed or banned. The individual who filed the 109 form to have the book removed from the library is NOT a Cepta member. In fact, she usually disagrees with Cepta on most issues.
srodham69 November 17, 2012 at 02:22 PM
Mr. Rhoads, your response to me was extremely difficult to follow. I have no idea what a 6th grade field trip has to do with the next thought. I have no idea how the math in your mind works. You personally exclude books based on genre and that's somehow evidence the list is inadequate? While your arithmetic is exemplary, your rambling response to why this book should be "banned" is rambling and incoherent. Once again, there are, by your standards, 19 books to choose from. You don't think one is appropriate for your child. Pick one of the other 18.


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