Pasco Middle School family questions content of Stephen Chbosky's 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower'
A popular young adult novel, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, faces possible removal from Pasco County schools after being challenged by two seventh-graders' parents at Pasco Middle School.
The parents, whose names were not provided, complained that the book contained graphic references to sex, drugs and alcohol. The book was assigned to their children's advanced language arts class by a substitute teacher.
In the past, the district has not always thoroughly reviewed questioned titles. That changed in 2014, after a highly publicized challenge of John Green's Paper Towns, which administrators removed from a John Long Middle School reading list without a complete evaluation.
Under district policy 2520, the novel will go to a school-based panel of administrators, teachers and parents for consideration. That group will recommend whether the book is suitable for instructional purposes in Pasco schools.
Currently, it's owned by four high schools and the one middle school. Access to the title has been suspended while awaiting the outcome of the review. Pasco Middle principal Jeff Wolff has sent a note home to parents apologizing for the content.
Superintendent Kurt Browning said he was concerned about the material being made available to students.
"It will be very important for the committee to review this text to determine whether it could be appropriate for any student in the Pasco school system," Browning said in a news release.
Chbosky's book was among the nation's most banned books in 2009, according to the American Library Association, which tracks book censorship. The author criticized such actions after a Connecticut school system removed his book.
"The entire book is a blueprint for survival," Chbosky told myrecordjournal.com. "It's for people who have been through terrible things and need hope and support. The idea of taking two pages out of context and creating an atmosphere as perverse is offensive to me - deeply offensive."