Waukesha mom seeks to have two novels banned from schools

Complaint comes after committee denied request to have "Looking for Alaska" removed

Aug. 19, 2014

UPDATE: A Waukesha School District committee denies the request to have "The Kite Runner " and "Chinese Handcuffs" banned from schools. 

For the second time in a month, a Waukesha school panel will determine whether to ban a book from its schools after the novel received backlash from a parent.

Following a complaint from a Waukesha West parent earlier this summer, the Waukesha School District's Consideration Committee will hold a public hearing and take action on the two books in question, "The Kite Runner" and "Chinese Handcuffs" on Wednesday morning. 

This comes after a parent from Waukesha South tried to get the 2005 John Green young-adult novel "Looking for Alaska" banned from library shelves in the district. Some parents said that book promoted sex, drugs, alcohol and foul language. 

However, the consideration committee, made up of teachers and school officials, unanimously denied the request to remove the book from the district. 

Now, Karen Tessman, who also spoke out against "Looking for Alaska," wants two other books off school district shelves. 

She said in her complaint that she objects to the "gang rape, extreme brutality (and) violence" depicted in "Chinese Handcuffs," a 1989 young-adult novel written by Chris Crutcher.

"Gang rape, extreme violence and brutality have no place in the English curriculum," Tessman said in her complaint. 

She said in her complaint that this book shouldn't be available to anyone younger than 18 years old. 

She also put in a request to the consideration committee to have "The Kite Runner" banned. Tessman said in her complaint that she objected to the "extreme violence" in the 2003 book, which was No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller for more than two years. 

Waukesha West Principal David LaBorde, who heads the consideration committee, said at the last meeting that "The Kite Runner" has already been approved by the Board of Education in 2006.

The consideration committee will meet at 9 a.m. Wednesday at the school district's Lindholm Building, 222 Maple Ave.


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