Parent files formal complaint about 'vulgar' book at Urbandale school – KCCI Des Moines

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The book “Hey, Kiddo” is being reviewed to determine if it is appropriate for students at Urbandale High School.
“Hey, Kiddo” is a memoir about a child dealing with addiction in his family.
Dennis Murphy says his son, a junior at Urbandale High School chose the book for a class assignment.
After seeing the book in his son’s car, he opened it to a random page and found it was full of what he called vulgar language.
He then began to tab through the rest of the pages to find more “vulgar” language and obscenities throughout the book.
Murphy said it’s not the message of the book that disturbs him, it’s the language.
“If my student walked into the principal’s office and called any teacher one of these names they’d be disciplined immediately,” Murphy said. “So why is it okay for them to read it?”
The Urbandale Community School District released a statement to KCCI that read: “Urbandale Community School District has received a formal written request for reconsideration of a book. Per Board Policy, a review committee has been established to review the request. The book will remain available pending the outcome of the reconsideration process.”
Keenan Crow with One Iowa points out that the book is a memoir, based on a real-life experience.
Crow said some students could be dealing with the same experience and could benefit from reading the book.
“What is really appropriate is for parents to be reviewing materials that their kid might read and see if that is something that is appropriate for that age range,” Crow said. “What’s not appropriate is to pull a book off the shelf because it offends you personally.”
Murphy said if books like “Hey, Kiddo” are going to be on school shelves, parents should be aware and there should be an open discussion.
He said Urbandale Schools brushed off his initial concern, which led to his formal complaint.
“I’ve lost a lot of confidence quite frankly in public school. I’ve lost a lot of confidence in Urbandale High School,” Murphy said.
Murphy said he will file formal complaints about several other books recently made available at Urbandale High School.
A hearing will be held on the book on Nov. 22nd. A school board meeting will follow the hearing at 6:30 pm.
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