Parent petitions CFAUSD to remove book from district

Published: May. 2, 2022 at 10:10 PM CDT
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CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) -A parent is asking one area school district to remove a book from a 9th grade class reading list.

At a meeting Monday night, a panel weighed in on the future of this book.

A parent is petitioning the Chippewa Falls Area Unified School District to remove a book from its schools.

That book is Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe by Preston Norton.

Parent Stephanie Krizan, who is petitioning for the book to be removed, said she’s concerned with the book’s use of vulgarities, sexual descriptions, drug use and more.

“The more you input, the more you’re going to output,” Krizan said. “You’re inputting filth into our students and expecting them to do better. How is that rational?”

Krizan spoke about her concerns to a panel made up of educators, a parent, a student and more who are tasked with making a recommendation on the book’s future.

She said this book is part of a list of books assigned as part of her son’s 9th grade English class.

“There was a group read,” Krizan said. “Kids were supposedly putting books down one through five out of 10 choices she gave them. She gave them 10 choices. Yes, it was my son’s choice, but it was his 5th choice.”

The book, according to another English teacher with the district, tackles themes like mending toxic relationships and understanding every person has merit.

She said the book may not be for every student, but some students do relate with the characters.

“It’s important to understand that many of our own students would feel a strong connection to this protagonist’s experiences--a connection that helps to minimize the damaging effects of feeling ashamed of one’s circumstances,” said Molly Barnes, a CFAUSD English teacher.

Barnes also said teachers will allow students to read a book outside the given list.

She said when the staff selects books as part of the curriculum, they take those choices seriously.

After considering the arguments, the panel made the recommendation to keep the book in the school district.

Again, Monday night’s decision was a recommendation.

The superintendent must make a final decision in writing within 30 days of Monday’s meeting.

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