The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


September 12, 2012

Readers' Forum | Required-reading choice questionable

My son said, “Mom, you have to see this,” so I read the novel “Push” by Sapphire and fell out of my chair in shock. This was his required reading for English 12 at Westmont Hilltop High School. It is the story of a 12-year-old, obese, African-American, female growing up in the slums of Harlem. She is repeatedly abused mentally, physically and sexually by her father and mother, and twice becomes impregnated by her father. The book is laden with depictions of X-rated incestual sex.

I (and others) felt the sexual vulgarity of the book exceeded limits for children in high school.

We asked the faculty and administration to revisit the appropriateness of this novel. They heard us out, but were obstinate in their support of the book. We met with the superintendent and the school board’s curriculum committee. They also defended and supported the use of the novel (with the exception of one), but admitted that book selections made by teachers are not vetted by the school board. They trust the judgments of their faculty.

However, after hearing our concerns, they offered a compromise. Under a unit titled “African-American literature,” students will be offered a choice between three or four novels, “Push” being one of them.

Parents – please read “Push” and decide if it is right for your child. Contact the school for a copy. Students may opt out of any reading they are uncomfortable with, but you must be aware to exercise this right.

Katie and Shawn Dorian


Divisiveness hampers America’s well-being

The tone of the Obama administration was set when Obama spoke to the combined Senate and House of Representatives at the beginning of his term and Rep. Joe Wilson shouted, “You lie.” That was followed by the Republican Party’s divisiveness throughout his term in office. And our nation has suffered from their attitude. To shame on them all.

Most folks couldn’t care less about Mitt Romney’s tax returns, but why doesn’t he just reveal them?

I read an article in the Sept. 3 issue of Time Magazine that was dedicated mostly to the November election. An article written by Rana Foroohar, “It’s the Stupid Economy,” stated that Romney took a $77,000 tax write-off for his wife’s half-million dollar show horse to his complicated Cayman Islands accounts. Gee, it’s no wonder he doesn’t want to show his recent tax returns. That is more money than my husband and I made together in our working years.

May God bless these great United States and all the hard-working citizens and military everywhere.

Virginia Buser


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What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

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