As time passes, many words change in meaning and sentiment. Sometimes this makes words insensitive that originally were not. One such word is ‘retarded,’ used originally to describe people with special needs — that word might get a book banned from Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan schools.
The book Sixth Grade Can Really Kill You is being hailed as ‘offensive’ by Jenna Boutain, who works with special needs students. She filed the request for removal after finding the book given to her child as part of an Accelerated Reader list, and it has been caught up in the growing movement to ban the “r-word.”
Originally school officials and Boutain agreed to restrict her children’s access to the book, but she ultimately decided on the more drastic route. A district spokesman claims that there have been five requests to remove materials, and only one has ever been accepted. But the decision will still go up to a review committee, who will decide to leave the book, restrict access, or remove it all together.
The book itself follows the story of Helen, a disabled girl herself — making it doubtful that the book was intended to offend anyone. Additionally the book was not being taught, and it was not required reading. This debate really hearkens back to the fight to ban books like Huckleberry Finn for its use of taboo words.
Is this another example of society being too politically correct and overprotecting children? Should a book really be banned for using negative language to illuminate a disabled girl’s struggles?
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