For their own good . . .

Ellen Hopkins, the author of Glass, along with Crank an account of meth addiction, was barred from lecturing at a middle school, after some parents objected to her book.  Since its middle-school appropriateness was under review, school officials decided that her visit itself was inappropriate.  Honestly, that seems fine, especially when one reads the book’s reviews.  While they are all very positive, the editorial reviews for the book place it firmly in the high school realm with School Library Journal recommending the book for grades 9 and up, Publishers Weekly for ages 14 and up,  and VOYA for “older teens.” Yet, Hopkins was not allowed to move her talk to the high school, where no parent had objected to her work, and where she’d find a ready, willing, and appropriate audience. 
It always amazes me when parents of teens speak honestly and passionately about protecting their children from the horrors of the world by sealing them in, all too temporary and illusory, rose-colored bubbles.  When we ignore issues such as drug addiction, sexual assault, school and street violence, racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia, we do not protect our children from them - we, instead, leave them very vulnerable to them.  All too often, instead of educating and preparing our children to face a world full of hazards, adults end up pretending these issues don’t exist, or exist only for other kids in other places.  It’s naive at best and incredible destructive at worst.  Here we have an eloquent writer and speaker, willing to tackle some of these tough issues and she is turned away because some parents are afraid to admit that their little ones may be getting into drugs, sex, alcohol, you name it.  Instead of facing that fear, they are ducking their heads into the sand.

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree with you on this one. I grew up in a very small, conservative town in the midwest and this kind of stuff happened all the time. Parents were big on "if we don't tell them, they will never know about it." As a result, the town ended up with several drug addicted, alcoholic, racist, homophobic, and/or pregnant teens. It was not a very open-minded place to live and it was full of ignorant, judgmental people.