Tennessee School District Bans Novel Over Teen Sex Scene

Marion Herbert's picture
Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A school district has deemed an awkward teen's two-page encounter at boarding school in the coming-of-age novel "Looking for Alaska" too racy, banning the book from class reading lists.

Sumner County Schools are at least the second in the state, after Knox County in March, to keep students from reading it together in class.

The teen novel is the first in several years to be stripped from Sumner classrooms. Three nearby suburban Nashville, Tenn., counties -- Wilson, Rutherford and Williamson county schools -- say they haven't banned the book or any titles in recent years. Metro Nashvilleschools didn't have information on the book as of Monday.

"Kids at this age are impressionable. Sometimes it's a monkey see, monkey do," said parent Kathy Clough, who has a freshman and a senior at White House High School, where the book had been assigned reading. "I'm going to trust that my school board made the right choice. If they feel like this book is a little too graphic, I'm all for it."

As many as 500 books are challenged each year, more often by a parent or school administrator and mostly for being too sexually explicit or containing too much foul language, according to the American Libraries Association.

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