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Grandmother calls on Springfield Public Schools to remove book assigned to students

Theresa Drussa says the material is pornographic in nature.
Published: Mar. 30, 2021 at 9:45 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - A woman voiced her concerns about a book assigned to her grandson to read to members of the Springfield Public Schools board last week.

Theresa Drussa says parts of the book, ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ contain what she calls pornographic material and has no place in school.

She asked, “What’s the purpose of giving this to our kids? They’re supposed to be educating our kids. What value does that have?”

Her grandson, read the book a few years ago as a senior at Glendale High School. It’s only now, she says, she discovered the subject matter.

We learned the book is still being used.

It’s why she says she is appealing to school leaders to get rid of it.

“The book contains sexual abuse, teenage sex, rape, abortion and LSD and other drugs,” she explained.

She says the more she read the book the more upset she got.

“I only read to page 31 and that was plenty,” she said.

Drussa took her concerns to the Springfield Public Schools Board meeting last week and read some of the graphic details.

“After a few minutes the boy pushed the girl’s head down and she started to kiss his (expletive). She was still crying,” quoted Drussa from the book.

Drussa tells us she’s concerned about the behavior the text may teach to students.

“It’s not just about my grandchildren. It’s about all children. It scares me to think how many girls may have been date raped because the guys read that book,” she said.

Chief Communications Officer for Springfield Public Schools, Stephen Hall, says, “All options are included in the syllabus for both students and parents to review.”

School administrators say the book was one of several options for an elective course about film and literature for high school juniors and seniors only.

“In this case the author had written a piece of work and also wrote the screen play and directed the film. There was an opportunity to have a conversation around the entirety of work,” explained Hall.

However, Drussa says it’s inappropriate material.

She read another passage from the book to the board.

It states, “They kept doing other things and she kept saying no.”

“Don’t you think it’s shocking, I had to fill out a form to have that book removed? Like they don’t have enough brains to take it out of the system themselves,” said Drussa.

Hall said, “When there are times of disagreement we certainly want to be sensitive to that, to re-evaluate and make adjustments if we need to. That’s why we have this review process in place.”

A committee made up of the principal, two teachers and a librarian will review the book and consider Drussa’s request to have it removed.

District officials say the book is used in classrooms across the country.

“Throughout history we have had a number of pieces of literature that have been controversial for various reasons. Part of what we have to do as we evaluate curriculum and make decisions is how can we best prepare students at the appropriate age to be critical thinkers.

The best way to become critical thinkers, often times, is to have access to a variety of literature,” said Hall.

Drussa says she’s determined to make a change.

“Well, I’ll just go as high and as far as I have to go to get the word out,” she said.

It will be up to the committee, not the school board, to decide if there will be any changes. This includes pulling the book from the curriculum, limiting it’s use, or keep it and require a permission slip or parental consent to read it in class.

We’re told there isn’t a time frame to get this done, just that the committee is working quickly towards a resolution.

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