Unless you think “the retard room” is how you think kids should refer to classrooms for special needs students, there’s not much to discuss about an effort to remove a nearly 30-year-old book called “Sixth Grade Can Really Kill You” from Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan schools. But it’ll be discussed anyway.
The Pioneer Press reports that a district employee who works with special needs students at Falcon Ridge Middle School has asked the school board to pull the book.
“As a whole, I feel the book is outdated and uses language that is no longer acceptable,” Jenna Boutain reportedly wrote in her request. “This book serves no educational purpose besides keeping words and behaviors in the minds of our students.” She did not respond to a request for comment.
Tony Taschner, district spokesman, said there have been seven requests to remove materials in his two decades with the district and only one was granted. Typically, school leaders are given guidelines for choosing materials, but decisions about specific materials are left up to building staff.
The review committee can decide to leave the questioned material in the school, limit who has access to it or remove it from the school all together, Taschner said.
“It matters to the committee whether it is a required piece or just part of the school’s collection that someone can check out,” Taschner said.
The book is about an 11 yr old — Helen — who has dyslexia and has to decide whether to use the “retard room.”
Concerned that she wouldn’t make it past sixth grade, Helen eventually decides to ask for help and everyone lives happily ever after, with no one in the book, or apparently in the school libraries of the nation, noticing that one of the reasons she didn’t want to ask for help in the first place is because of she didn’t really want to be saddled with an inappropriate label that has no place in a school in 2014.