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.