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Let students read real literature

To the Editor:
Once again humanistic thinking and intolerance have reared their ugly heads in the public school system.  Using "The Chocolate War" to stimulate thinking and discussion reveals not only an author with an inadequate vocabulary, but the equally inadequate literary knowledge possessed by the school board.  The use of profanity in literature is widespread.  However, this does not eliminate the books available which would be far more appropriate for children who are still under the legal and moral authority of their parents.

Educators continue their struggle to teach in the classroom.  They are often verbally attacked with the very language used in this book.  Parents who are striving to maintain moral integrity in their children's lives, including how they express themselves through language, are not being helped when a book containing profanity is introduced under the deceptively lofty catch phrase of "literary merit."
The school board says it desires to challenge the students with the concept and ultimate price of nonconformity.  Why not choose a book called 'The Hiding Place" by Corrie Ten Boom?  Alas, this will probably never come to pass, despite their supposedly lofty literary intentions.  I can almost see the giant "rejection" stamp being wielded in their hands.  Why?  The book is about a family's obedience to God (not bowing to the government), their love for their savior, Jesus Christ, and how the Ten Boom family (which did not consist of two fathers or significant others) risked their lives to hide Jews from their Nazi persecutors in Holland during World War II.
The "Hiding Place" is a story of courage.  It is one thing to make choices, it is another matter entirely when nonconformity to the government costs you your life, or the lives of the ones you hold dear.  This is a true story of unselfish, sacrificial love, and one worthy to pass on to our children.  It is a rich historical journey, and even the Powers that be in Washington, D.C., felt Miss Ten Boom's contribution was so significant that her name has a place of honor in the National Holocaust Museum.  There is also a Ten Boom street in Hilversum (a city in Holland/Netherlands) honoring Miss Ten Boom's nephew, who as a young man bravely helped many Jews to safety.  His nonconformity cost him his life in a concentration camp.
There is no room in the public schools for literature of this caliber because not only would it regally overshadow the trash being read now, it would challenge the students and the educators to evaluate their own moral courage.  It would stimulate discussion of spiritual matters, the steadfastness of God's word and the people who uncompromisingly strive to obey him even in the face of humiliation and death.
The public school system has shown contempt and intolerance towards all these things, and that is one of the reasons so many parents choose to educate their children at home.  Strong moral character is not negotiable.  I pity the system that has shown a blatant disregard for parental authority and decency.  Offending their creator with the propagation of profane language may seem of little consequence, now.  Refusing to acknowledge parents' authority is just another step towards the indoctrination of our children to be politically correct without concern for their bankrupt morality.  Of course this can all be chalked up to nonconformity to God's word, but I'm sure the school board wouldn't want to touch that with a 10-foot pole.
JOYCE A. MEYERS
Bridgeton 02/03/03