• UPDATE: Watauga Co. to keep controversial book in classroom

    By: Erica Bryant

    Updated:

    WATAUGA COUNTY, N.C. - A controversial book has sparked outrage in Watauga County. Some teachers even received threats from angry parents.
     
    The Watauga County School Board voted Thursday night to keep “The House of the Spirits” in its honors class curriculum.

    The courtroom with a 200-person capacity could barely contain the crowd at the School Board meeting.

    “This is a grassroots groundswell of parents and students trapped, ignored and alienated (with) no oversight or accountability,” one parent said.

    “The House of the Spirits” was required reading for 10th-grade honors English class at Watauga High School.

    But one parent who filed an appeal to remove it from the curriculum brought a petition with 1,500 signatures of others who agree.

    “We also want to make sure the board and community know the pervasive and repeated sexual content in this book,” the parent said.
     
    Parents complained the book was too graphic for 10th-graders because it includes rape and incest but the English teacher who uses it in class countered that those opinions are not the majority.

    “To remove this book undermines the parental authority of 93 percent of parents who want their children to read the book,” said Mary Kent Whitaker.

    During this controversy, she said only four students requested an alternate assignment.
     
    She argued the book meets the North Carolina Public Instruction Standard and students who don't want to read it, have never been forced to.

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