A Hanover mom was outraged over a racy book her 11-year-old picked up at her elementary school.
“It was kind of unique and it was kind of an interesting cover,” said the student, who 8News is not identifying.
The Cold Harbor 5th grader said it has an interesting title, too. The book at the center of the controversy is called ‘One Of Those Hideous Books Where The Mother Dies.’
It caught the young student’s attention, and her mom’s too.
“She said there were some cuss words in it and I got a little concerned,” said mom, who soon realized that bad language was the least of her concerns. “There are girls talking about being promiscuous. Starting off with kissing and then it got worse.”
One passage reads: “I’d finally let him devirginize me.”
Another reads: “He actually liked me. Not just because he was horny.”
“There’s slut-shaming in there,” the mom added. “There’s talk about drugs.”
“Some of the inappropriate language stood out to me, that maybe I should take this to my mom, but it was such a good book I kept reading on,” the 5th grader admitted.
The book is an award-winning novel, but not appropriate for an 11-year-old, according to at least one mother. In fact, an online description calls it “young adult fiction.”
“I don’t even know if it belongs in middle school. But definitely not in an elementary school, no,” she said.
8News reached out to Hanover Schools for comment and received the following statement:
School administration immediately investigated a parent’s concern about a book that was being maintained in a fifth-grade teacher’s classroom library. An administrator reviewed the book and determined that it was not age-appropriate for elementary students, so it was removed from the classroom. The book in question was not required reading nor used for instructional purposes. The investigation further revealed that the teacher made an honest mistake and was unaware that the book was not appropriate for fifth-grade students. A school administrator personally apologized to the parent for the apparent oversight and error in judgment. The school division deeply regrets this incident and will work to reinforce with teachers the importance of maintaining only age-appropriate books in their classrooms.
Mom says the damage has been done.
“My daughter can’t go back and unread what she read.”
She feels the teacher should have reached out to her and that there should have been a discussion about what happened. Mom worries now about what other books are in that library.
Hanover Schools said it will be working to reinforce with teachers the importance age-appropriate books in the classroom.