Tuesday, June 07, 2005

More about the bill

I can't help myself.. Reading the drivel about H.R. 2295 on the website of the congressman who introduced the legislation makes me feel soft and sick inside.

Congressman Jones has introduced H.R. 2295 to empower parents at a local level and shine a light on controversial books before they are purchased. This legislation ensures parents that these books are not available to their children without their knowledge and consent.

The congressman, Walter Jones, is in fact the same guy who wanted the French fries in Capital Hill cafeterias renamed "freedom fries."

From the SIECUS website, I have a clearer picture of the reason this legislation was created:

Children's Book About Two Gay Princes Causes Parents' Uproar
Wilmington, NC

The parents of a first-grader at Freeman Elementary School in Wilmington, NC, filed a complaint with the school after they read a book their 7-year-old daughter had brought home from the school library. The book entitled King and King tells the story of a character named Prince Bertie who falls in love with a character named Prince Lee. The book is written by two Dutch authors and the publisher says it is for ages 6 and up. It ends with the two princes falling in love and kissing, their lips obscured by a picture of a heart.

The father said his daughter is "not old enough to understand something like that, especially when it is not in our beliefs." The father also said he felt that, "If this book is going to be allowed, I believe it ought to be allowed on more of a high school level."5 The school principal countered by saying "We have a lot of diversity in our schools… What might be inappropriate for one family, in another family is a totally acceptable thing."

Due to the families' complaint and an additional compliant filed by another family, a school committee, made up of parents, teachers, and community members, held a meeting in late March about the book. The school committee voted 8-3 to put the book under lock and key so that only adults, including parents and teachers, are allowed to check it out.

The parents said they were happy with the decision, but not everyone agreed with the ruling. One committee member said, "I feel like it's my responsibility to make it clear that these things exist. It doesn't mean we have to agree with it. It's not about right or wrong…It's just different."

Due to the widespread media about the controversy, people from around the country donated additional copies of the book to the school. If fact, the attention has prompted a second printing of the book and a sequel is expected later this spring.


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