Mother outraged at D51 curriculum book choice

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. “They are 11-years old and still children themselves and this is totally inappropriate and quite appalling,” says Orchard Mesa Middle School parent Joy Porter. She is talking about the popular sci-fi novel "Enders Game", recently added to the reading curriculum for 6th graders across District 51.

Critics say the story of a young boy chosen to lead a war in space is simply social commentary and appropriate for all ages. Others say the book is chock full of adult themes.

"It has a lot of profanity and talks a lot about sexual innuendo. In one part of the book, it talks about male genitals being in an animated computer sitting in a naked boy's lap,” says Porter.

She says the decision to add the book was made by a school panel and the reason behind adding the novel was actually well-intentioned.

"It talked about bullying and it was a good opportunity for the students to engage in a conversation about bullying,” says Porter.

But she says there are thousands of other appropriate books that the district could have chosen to educate students on bullying.

"Tell me how an 11-year old girl or boy is going to be able to handle that kind of text?” says Porter.

A spokesperson for District 51 says they take these complaints seriously and there are strict guidelines in place for a situation like this. In an e-mail statement, the school district says, "The text has been suspended from use in classrooms, pending the outcome of the review process."

Still, Porter says better judgment by the people who make these decisions is in order so the problem doesn't happen again.

"I put my trust in the school district that they will pick appropriate books for my child to read and I feel that they have failed,” says Porter.

The novel will now go through a review process that could take several rounds of deliberation. Once a decision is made, it can be appealed.

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