School Board Accepts, Then Rejects, Reading List That Includes Books On Drug Use, Gay Sex

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Required reading at one New Jersey school included a novel about the daily life of a drug addict.

Early this year, discussions about editing Mark Twain classics to remove uncomfortable language in the literary staples made headlines across the country when editions of Twain’s period novels with some of the author’s racial language removed were released. The idea behind doing so was to create a more classroom-friendly version of the work for student-required reading. This begs the question from some: Who will edit the books listed on New Jersey’s Monroe Township school district’s required reading list?

Fox News reported on Tuesday that the school district had on its required reading list novels depicting graphic sexual scenes including homosexual orgies, one novel, entitled TWEAK (Growing up on Methamphetamines), was completely based on the everyday life of a drug addict.

“Some of the language is inappropriate,” said Chuck Earling, superintendent of Monroe Township Schools in Williamstown, N.J. to Fox News. “We were not trying to create controversy. We were just trying to get students to read.”

The following is an excerpt from Nic Sheff’s novel, TWEAK:

We shoot up and take a shower. We have sex in my old bed until my knees are rubbed raw. After that, I smoke cigarettes and look for stuff to steal.

The tone of the novel remains relatively constant as the storyline follows the author’s on-again off-again addiction to methamphetamine which leads him into sexual encounters, parties and distance from his family. Another book entitled Norwegian Wood was reportedly required for high school sophomores at the school. The students would read in that particular work at least one account of a lesbian encounter between a 13-year-old girl and a 31-year-old woman, according to New Jersey-based Gloucester County Times.

Fox reports that a panel made up of teachers, librarians and school administrators created the summer reading list which was then approved by the area board of education. The summer reading curriculum has changed throughout the years at many schools, as classics are abandoned for newer, more cutting-edge books that districts hope will interest students more. But many are left wondering if abandoning Orwellian warnings and historical accounts for popular culture in the English classroom is of benefit to students at all.

Following backlash from parents, the Monroe Township school district elected to remove the risqué novels from its required reading list.

Sam Rolley

Sam Rolley began a career in journalism working for a small town newspaper while seeking a B.A. in English. After covering community news and politics, Rolley took a position at Personal Liberty Media Group where could better hone his focus on his true passions: national politics and liberty issues. In his daily columns and reports, Rolley works to help readers understand which lies are perpetuated by the mainstream media and to stay on top of issues ignored by more conventional media outlets.

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