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Stolz Moves to Ban 'Porn' From Emmaus Summer Reading

East Penn School Director Julian Stolz moves to remove two books from the Emmaus High School summer reading list after a parent complains to the board about the sexually graphic nature of their content at Monday’s board meeting.

East Penn School Director Julian Stolz said he doesn’t want to go down the route of banning books, even as he moved to eliminate two books from ’s optional summer reading list at Monday night’s meeting of the .

Stolz put into a play a measure to be discussed at the board’s next meeting that would remove two books from the Emmaus High School optional summer reading list: Tom Wolfe’s “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test,” which is on the 10th grade list and “Prep,” a 9th-grade selection written by Curtis Sittenfeld.

“I understand that this is just optional reading,” Stolz said. “I would not feel comfortable reading this content out loud at a board meeting. If I did, I would be charged with the corruption of the morals of minors.

“I feel that it is my moral duty to see that something like this is not on the suggested reading list. I have taken a history class, I watch the History Channel. I know what happens when we go down the path of banning books, I don’t want to go down that route,” Stolz said.

Board president Charles Ballard told Stolz that his motion would be put on the agenda for discussion at the next school board meeting, allowing it time to be properly advertised and allowing the public time to respond. “Saying that, it (this motion) is going down the route of banning books, Mr. Stolz,” Ballard said.

Stolz’s motion was prompted by a parent who came before the board to share her concerns about the books during the public comment portion of the meeting.

Paula Wittman, 560 Broad St., addressed the board along with Jeff Lotte of the same address. Lotte handed out to the board photocopied pages from both books, while Wittman spoke about the selected passages.

She began with text from page 315 in “Prep,” which, according to Wittman “graphically describes a minor girl during her first time performing oral sex with explicit detail and references to swallowing.” Wittman moved on to page 176 in “The Electric Kook-Aid Acid Test,” which, in Wittman’s words “describes a drug-and-alcohol-induced gang bang, with descriptions of glistening semen and orifices being filled multiple times.

“Why would the administration think that pornography is OK,” Wittman asked? “If this were in a movie, it would be X-rated.

“Emmaus is my alma mater. I am appalled ... I am disgusted. I can’t believe this is something recommended for school children of these ages to read. They have enough on their plate and I don’t think that they should be learning it from a book in this way,” she said.

At the beginning of his superintendent’s report, East Penn Superintendent of Schools Thomas L. Seidenberger addressed Wittman and Lotte, explaining that there is an established process in East Penn School District for voicing a concern about a book selection and that such issues can be submitted to the district online.

“Stick around and at the end of the meeting I will show you how,” Seidenberger said. Wittman and Lotte appeared to have left the school board meeting before it ended.

East penn parent September 27, 2012 at 01:59 AM
Most authors write books with a particular audience in mind. That is not the issue! The issue is that the East Penn School District needs to consider THEIR audience when developing their Required Summer Reading List. In a perfect world, parents and students read together and share their ideas and reinforce their family values. Nothing wrong with sexually explicit literature. The problem is when there are no other options but to read sexually explicit literature from the required summer reading list. Not all literature is sexually explicit. Give the parents and students a wider variety of books to pick from.
optimist September 27, 2012 at 03:22 AM
Ya but that is not true: http://www.eastpennsd.org/ehs/forms/Summer%20Reading/Incoming%209th%20Grade%20Summer%20Reading%20List%205.22.12%20FINAL.pdf Read the list. plenty of books with 0 sexual content
careless fills September 28, 2012 at 01:38 AM
If my opinion of this book is "ever-evolving", it's because of two things: 1) My comment was in response to the specific quotes that YOU printed here. They were new information and added the concerns about depression and suicide on top of the porn. 2) I'm reading the book now, and in my busy life, haven't had time to get as far as you have or seen the same exceprts as you might have. But I'll get there after I finish my other 21-day limit newly published library books first.
careless fills September 28, 2012 at 01:40 AM
Sheri, I think I'd have a hard time explaining most of those topics to any student who wasn't my own child.
careless fills September 28, 2012 at 02:03 PM
I wish I could share your optimism that the schools would pick literature that was appropriate for all and that every parent wouldn't have to vet every assignment.

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