A "House" Divided - myfoxcarolinas.com

A "House" Divided

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"The House of the Spirits" on a courtroom podium in Watauga County. "The House of the Spirits" on a courtroom podium in Watauga County.
BOONE, NC - Isabel Allende’s “The House of the Spirits” was at the center of a controversy in Watauga County.

A teacher at Watauga High planned to teach the text in a sophomore honors English class last fall, until parents objected.

“The book contained content that was horribly inappropriate for a tenth grade, 15-year-old, sophomore English class,” said Hal Lesesne, a Watauga High parent.

Todd Chasteen added, “It glamorizes promiscuity, it trivializes rape, it trivializes prostitution. Those are not good concepts for kids to be exposed to.”

There are a number of parents concerned with a student’s “right to read” and the impact removing the book from the curriculum could have on learning.

“They are absolutely right about the adult nature of the book. There are rapes in it, there is sexual violence, there is an abortion,” said Craig Fischer. “But, it is a book that handles this subject matter seriously, and ultimately a redemptive book because one of the major characters transcends this cycle of violence and pain in her family.”

Students were given the option to read another book, “Moby Dick,” but that didn’t sit well with Hal Lesesne and his wife Chastity, who oppose teaching “The House of the Spirits.”

“The student would not be able to have classroom discussion or teacher instruction in the same way the other students did,” said Lesesne. “They would have to sit in the hallway and the read the book on their own doing independent study.”
 

Now, the school board has to decide the book’s fate.

In a 3 to 2 vote, the members decided to keep the book in the class curriculum.

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