The school board of the Temecula School District is having to decide whether or not to put an award-winning Young Adult book on the Sophomore reading list. “Speak” written by Laurie Halse Anderson involves a teenage girl dealing with the aftermath of getting drunk at a party the summer before her freshman year and being sexually assaulted by a senior. The book has had problems in other states, always due to parental concern re: the subject matter. One parent in Temecula, a distant suburb of San Diego and a place you’d only go if you had to or liked Indian Casinos, even wrote to say it was “smutty” and “pornographic.” Responding to these concerns, the school board got hard to work:  “None of us had read it,” said board member Kristi Rutz-Robbins, who expressed concerns about the book at an August meeting, saying she would not be comfortable with her daughter reading it. Rutz-Robbins declined to say how she planned to vote Tuesday (9/15) but the plot “by nature of the topic makes it something we need to pause and carefully review,” she said.

I’m bringing this up because I feel very strongly that before you should have an opinion on anything, you’d better be well-versed in the subject. So, Ms. Rutz-Robbins – START READING! It’s people like this that allow censorship to flourish and the continued erosion of our civil rights and liberties. Granted all we’re talking about here is one school in a town that probably has a 50% drop-out rate brought on by unwanted teen pregancy, rape, drug abuse, etc. Infact, further research suggests:

Approximately One Million teens become pregnant each year in the United States. This results in approximately 520,000 births, 405,000 abortions & 80,000 miscarriages. More than ten percent of this total is in the State of Ca (approx 61,000 in 1997), and ten percent of the California total (approximately 4800 births) is in Orange County.

Temecula is actually in Riverside County (so they’re really screwed!) but their immediate surroundings and populace mirror those of Orange County: predominately white, conservative and Christian, for some reason they prefer to ignore the knocking at the door… and that knocking is the Real World ready to pay a visit. Should 14 year old kids not know that people make mistakes, get themselves in bad situations and pay the price or should they bop along, ignorant of it all until that day when Jesus magically hooks them up with Ryan Gosling (that’s a reference to The Notebook, ya’ll) and the stork pays a visit? Fortunately, again, we’re only talking about quality in education and, well, I guess we could have an opinion about that in some of these flyover places, too.

I’ve not read the book either (but I’m not making informed decisions about it’s worth), however, I own the movie adapted from it a few years ago. Starring Kristen Stewart (pre-Twilight), the film is moving and important. Chances are if more girls spent more time reading about these sorts of things, they might avoid ending up playing roles in their own sad little versions.



One Response to “Temecula-la-land”

  1. i saw that movie as well…. i have been to temecula many times in the high school. what do you expect… today i read a statistic that only 36 percent of americans believe in evolution…. but why should people read it…. you know have the facts? and to think that kids dont know that this goes on is more example of people being clueless and out of touch and stupid and scary….

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