The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


September 16, 2012

Readers' Forum | Books go through selection process

Katie and Shawn Dorian’s suggestion that parents should read Sapphire’s “Push,” a novel they deem "X-rated incestual sex" is a grand idea (Sept. 12, “Required-reading choice questionable”). But the Dorians’ use of “X-rated sex” is disingenuous.

Precious is brutally raped, and rape is not sexy. Precious, abused and impregnated by her father, finds the strength to survive, rising above her victimization through education. Precious becomes an educated victor.

If parents and children choose not to read any work, the policy at Westmont Hilltop has always been to offer alternatives. This practice has been in force for the 23 years I have taught at Westmont. “Push,” and a couple of parents who wished to censor the book, had nothing to do with Westmont’s standing policy.

The Dorians suggestion that teachers have the only say concerning the acceptance of a book is false. Westmont Hilltop has always had a process. Books are selected by teachers and then reviewed by the school board and curriculum committee, before being accepted.

“Push” is on the advanced placement test – recommended by those who are preparing our students for college. We want our students to be challenged and competitive. “Push” is classified as young adult literature, not adult literature.

Let’s adhere to truths. “Push” is not pornography; it is not meant to sexually excite. Westmont Hilltop has always provided other readings. There is a process before any book is put into the English curriculum.

And, yes, I would love for all parents to read “Push,” and any other book, with their children.

Debra Taczanowsky

Chairwoman of the English Department, Grade 12

Westmont Hilltop High School

More emphasis on America

The United States needs to cut aid to all other countries and start worrying about our own. We waste so much money and resources on other countries, it just makes me so mad. I really don’t care what happens abroad, that’s not our problem.

The government needs to quit shoving down our throats all that bull about security and interests with other parts of the world and start dealing with our little part of the world. Let’s solve our own issues and get people back to work and to be able to live a good life.

I do not care if you’re Republican, Democrat, tea party or whatever, just get the job done and quit making excuses.

Fred Bigam


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