WESLEY CHAPEL — The National Coalition Against Censorship is calling on the Pasco County school district to restore “Paper Towns” by John Green to the eighth-grade summer reading list at Long Middle School.
“No sound educational rationale for removing the book has been articulated, nor is it likely that one could be,” the coalition’s leaders wrote in an email to Superintendent Kurt Browning and school board members Monday. “ ‘Paper Towns’ is a highly praised and critically acclaimed novel.”
The book was removed from the middle school’s reading list a week ago after a parent complained to school board member Joanne Hurley about graphic sexual references in the novel. Hurley passed the complaint along to Browning and Assistant Superintendent Amelia Van Name Larson.
Larson said last week that Long Middle removed the book from the reading list of its own accord and not by edict from the school district. The book remains on the shelves of libraries at several high schools in Pasco.
The coalition argued in its email, though, that the removal violated the school board’s own policy that says complaints about books should be in writing and that a review committee should evaluate the book’s literary merit.
The New York-based coalition said it also is concerned about a district plan to develop a policy to alert parents when their children are going to be assigned potentially controversial reading material, calling the idea “both problematic and misguided.”