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Letters to the editor

Tuesday, September 03, 2013 - Updated: 10:25 AM

Book too graphic for school

To the editor:

As school will be starting shortly, I find an issue I should mention pertaining to Common Core. Here is something that you might want to check into especially if you have high school kids. The book called "The Bluest Eye" by Toni Morrison is listed as reading recommended on the Common Core website. It does not necessarily mean that your school will use it but there is a possibility that they might. If you go in to, and at the bottom type in page 152, you will see it on the list along with some passages out of the book.

Ms. Morrison was the Nobel Prize winner in literature for the year 1993. "The Bluest Eye" was Ms. Morrison's first novel that she wrote in 1970. Ms. Morrison also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012 and I thought it quite ironic, or maybe just coincidental, that one year later, Oprah Winfrey (who listed "The Bluest Eye" as a Book of the Month back in 2000) also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. This book deals with racism, incest and child molestation.

If a teacher or parent read the description of what the book was about, they would think it was an OK book to read but unfortunately myself and others do not agree that it is an OK book for teenagers to read and some parents are trying to get this book banned in schools. Others say that this should not be done because it is censorship. Others say that by 11th grade that half of all 16- or 17-year-olds have had sex anyways and so the kids would not have an issue reading this book.

I cannot believe this. What has happened to people's morals? Even if the statement about teens and sex might be true, does that mean that we have to have our kids read graphic sexual content books in school? What is that telling our kids? Ms. Morrison's book is very graphic. Get your hands on this book (it is available at your library) and read excerpts from the following pages and then tell me that our kids should be reading this book. Pages 84-85, 130-131, 148-149, 162-163, 174 and 181.

I feel that this book needs to be pulled from the recommended reading list altogether. I am sure there are a ton of other books that could be enlightening and also controversial to read and talk about other than this novel. If they feel it is such a good book, then put it on the list for colleges but not high school. Our teens are having to endure enough in society without adding more fuel to the fire. When are our people going to start standing up for their rights and start to say "enough is enough." These teenagers are our future. We need to instill good thoughts in these teens, not graphic things that could possibly scar a teen for life. They talk about video games and the impact of them on young adult lives; so what do you think the impact of this type of book could have on some of our younger, more inexperienced teens who are not sexually active. I feel this book should be saved for adult reading.

I have always felt that the freedom of living in the United States was the fact that we could say what we wanted and read what we wanted but sometimes for the good of the country, we must dig a little deeper. Especially when it comes to the welfare of our children and their well being. As I said before, your school district might not even be reading this book but if they are, you might want to speak up on this subject.

Paula Tucker,


An open letter to the mayor

To the editor:

This is an open letter to Mayor Ann Thane.

It is clearly understandable that the humongous task of solving the problems created by numerous empty residential structures plaguing the entire city seems to be insurmountable.

But in one regard, the continued overgrowth of bushes, shrubs and lawns, literally consuming entire properties are surely cultivating impending potential future health dangers for the residents living close to these trouble hot spots.

Newspaper articles and TV news segments have been repeatedly focusing upon the arrival of new species of insects extremely dangerous to humans, in some instances, making appearances in various communities where thick, undisturbed overgrowth spreading up sides of buildings appear to be especially appealing as their favorite breeding grounds.

There must be some realistic way the ownership responsibilities of keeping the landscapes of these deserted sites properly maintained can be accurately determined, and if necessary, follow proper legal procedures to see to it that such obligations are being met.

Most assuredly, totally unkept properties are definitely a major black eye to any neighborhood's appealing overall appearance. But when an obvious health threat becomes a factor of necessity, immediate action is in deed warranted.

Anthony Biscotti,



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