Crusade On To Ban Controversial ‘Wallflower’ At Rockland School

Coming-Of-Age Novel Upsets Parents At Clarkstown North

CONGERS, N.Y. (CBS 2) — There’s a movement to ban a book in Clarkstown.

A controversial teen coming-of-age novel is upsetting some Rockland County parents who want it out of the Clarkstown North High School, reports CBS 2’s Magee Hickey.

“One day CB got so drunk that he tried to ‘f’ the host’s dog,” Aldo DeVivo said.

Aldo DeVivo read Hickey excerpts from the book – “The Perks of a Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky — that he found particularly disgusting.

“‘What the f— Jesus,’” DeVivo said.

DeVivo’s daughter, a junior, was assigned this coming of age novel, which deals graphically with teenage sex, homosexuality and bestiality, in her English class. His wife, Patti, wrote down 40 pages of the slender book she found offensive.

“Why does the classroom really have to put a book with this kind of material in their hands?” Patti DeVivo wondered.

“As a Christian, do we really need to take the Lord’s name in vain like that?” Aldo DeVivo added.

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Other parents said they are also concerned.

“The words in there are so disgusting. The ‘f’ word. Private organ parts. Sounds pornographic — not for an English class. His daughter, my daughter is 16. It’s disgusting,” Lorenzo Fortunato.

At Clarkstown North, the district superintendent would not let Hickey ask any questions but instead issued only a written statement, saying the goal of the curriculum is to have students “become informed and well-rounded members of a global society. Curriculum thus includes, on occasion, literature selections and discussions which may appear controversial.”

One Clarkstown North senior said the book is new this year.

“They’re in high school. They know about it. They should be reading about stuff that happens in real life,” Chris Namme said.

So while the DeVivo’s daughter was allowed to substitute Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea” instead, her parents are hoping others will join them in a possible lawsuit to ban “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” permanently from the Clarkstown North curriculum.

The book in question is No. 3 on a list of the top 10 books in America that people try to ban, according to the American Library Association.

Read the novel? Think the parents have a legitimate gripe? Sound off below!

  • SafeLibraries

    School Bullies Girl to Promote Political Push for Perks By Displaying In Class Video of Girl’s Parents; School Board Misleads Parents Opposing School Book So Only Book Supporters Attend Public Meeting; Media Touts Total Victory And Leaves Out Bullying and Political Trickery; Guest Writer Aldo DeVivo Speaks Out

  • quiltingfool

    Have any of you watched any of the ost popular video games that your children play? Do you know what kind of language is in the game, and what kind of language children use when playing them.? My grandson has never so much as said damn in front of us, and he lives with us. There are never any kind of swearwords in his normal conversatiion. But when he’s online playing video games, the “F” word is sprinkled liberally throughout, coming out of his mouth every third word. It means nothing people! It doesn’t make him a degenerate. He’s just being part of the crowd he’s in at the time. He’s caught up in the moment. No big deal. And why are people so afraid of the “F” word anyway? It’s just a word. It has no power, and if people would stop getting all upset when they hear it, then it would go away on its own. You give it the power, it doesn’t have any on its own. And I will bet anyone that most high school kids have seen. heard and/or participated in much worse than any book could describe. Do you not know that kids as young as 12 are participating in oral sex and they don’t even consider it sex? Wake up and smell the coffee. My guess is your kids could tell you stuff about sex, drugs and rock & roll that you don’t even know. Give your judgemental, ways a rest!

  • Jordan

    Has ayone on this board even read the book in an open way? This is really a wonderful book that doesn’t ignore the realities of high school. the only difference between this and other books is that Charlie (the narrator) doesn’t hide behind euphenisms.

    While I understand the caution, a 16 year old is perfectly capable of understand and respecting this book, and this is one of the few books that almost everyone can relate to in some way, even if you’re just the wallflower.

    Please at least don’t judge this book before reading it or asking one of the young adults that have read it.

  • finette

    No one is being “forced” to read the book, as you can see in the story above–students are allowed to read an alternate selection. And yes, absolutely parents can decide what their minor children read–their OWN children, no one else’s.

  • Sarge

    Hey all you bigmouths, parents have every right to decide what their children should read and not read.. The schools are not running our lives. We are responsible for our children, not them !! The liberalism of this country is running amuck and must be be kept in check by parents who love their children. Stop comparing this to nazi tactics to ban books. If my daughter came home with this book, you can be well assured that her teacher would have the book shoved where the sun doesnt shine.

    • CHSN '11

      How interesting that these objections are not raised with books like “The Things They Carries” which uses the “F” word on every page, and which contains graphic and disturbing descriptions of war.

      This is utterly absurd. And I wonder whether you even realize you threatened a violent crime with sexual undertones against a teacher who would assign this book. Perhaps we should censor your speech, in case the poor, sheltered, innocent SIXTEEN YEAR OLDS of the district read this and start “taking the Lord’s name in vain” or something. This certainly harms your ethos.

  • Pablo

    I think its funny that they changed the words in Huckleberry Finn but still allow books full of garbage like this one.

  • Free thinker

    Hey, Teacher, get rid of that book. Teach them “Fahrenheit 451” instead.

  • Rollis

    my nephew said hes being force to read this book by his English teacher and it seems there are some ugly seines so i got a copy of it and i kinda understand what the parents are saying just read the book you going to see what i mean.

    • quiltingfool

      Maybe reading it will help him do better with his spelling and grammer than you do. There are no less than 6 spelling, grammer and punctuation errors in your reply. Not that such things count for anything anymore.

      • CHSN '11

        Uh…it’s “grammar.”

  • Matt

    Banning this book? what are you kidding, what are we back in the 1950s. Maybe instead of banning material those who are offended should put down the bible , the st offensive piece of fiction, and start reading works of value.

  • RichieT

    There’s a little inducement it the United States call The Constitution. 1St Amendment; “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Books are covered by abridging freedom of the Press.. It’s exactly the same reason even something like the Koran, can’t be banned. It’s why the Government cannot support, or deny any religious practice, and why churches don’t pay taxes. “free exercise thereof”

    • Paul

      Its not so much that the government should ban the book, its that teenagers in high school shouldn’t be forced to read something so disgusting and immoral. Especially since there are millions of books to pick from that can teach the kids the same values of life without forcing them to read such garbage.

      • Kelsey

        NO ONE was forced to read anything. If you hadn’t been so ignorant and maybe done a little research on this story before opening your mouth, you’d see that the girl’s parents had to sign a permission slip saying she was allowed to read the book, and students that didn’t want to read it were given an alternative assignment. These parents however decided that they should be allowed to decide for EVERYONE ELSE’s children what they can and can’t read by having it banned.

  • Dave

    The whole concept of banning books is ridiculous. If you don’t like it, talk about why you don’t like it in English class. That’s kind of the point, right? Funny how parents won’t let their kids read books like this but its just fine to watch the same stuff–or worse–on TV.

    • Paul

      Yeah, except if the student doesn’t want to read such garbage, they are still forced to because the teacher requires it. You can’t just say you don’t like the book unless you have read it. You can read books teach the same principles without being so immoral. And usually the type of people that make such a big fus about these types of books don’t let their children watch same or worse stuff on TV, if they have TV at all.

      • CHSN '11

        Gee, I didn’t realize we were still a colony of Puritans.

  • aldous huxley

    Reminds me of how people viewed JD Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye” back in the early 1960’s (and to some degree, still do). An absolutely brilliant piece of literature. I’ve read this wonderful book many times – and now I think I will read it once again.

    Banning literature has potentially frightening consequences and sends a terrible message to students. It screams of Nazi Germany.

    Narrow minded parents (simple minded parents) who want to ban the book … don’t you know that banning it will simply make your kids want to read it that much more?

  • Writer

    hey, forget banning the book, how about gathering every copy you can get your hands on and piling up them out on the football field and making a bonfire. then, you can have your good, christian kids join hands around the fire while singing “Deutchland, Deutchland Uber Alles.”

    yeah, i can just see it…

  • bullfilter

    Grow up, people. It’s literature. Literature, like life, is not always pretty. re you going to try to hide the uglier parts of the world from your kids? If so, who will be the leaders of tomorrow?

    • RichieT

      If they manage to hide some of the uglier parts of history, We could whined up with something like Nazi Germany again.

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